Ford to Post Its First Monthly Sales Gain in Nearly 2 Years

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) expects to report its first monthly sales gain in nearly two years because of the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” [CFC] program, according to a WSJ report Sunday.

The automaker saw an increase in its July sales, which is the first jump on a year-over-year basis for the auto maker in almost two years, and the first reported by any of the six largest auto makers since August 2008.

Ford sales analyst George Pipas, notes The Journal, said he wasn’t sure if the sales increase would have occurred without the “Cash for Clunkers” program, which offers incentives to buy new vehicles. The program was so successful that Obama administration feared on Thursday that the program’s $1 billion in funding was about to run out. CFC went into effect July 24.

“The two goals of the program were to jump start auto sales as a way to start the recovery and to get buyers into more fuel-efficient cars,” Mr. Pipas said of the CFC program. “On both counts, it’s going to be a home run.” [WSJ]

Ford, the only U.S. automaker to have avoided bankruptcy, has forecast a second-half U.S. recovery in demand. The automaker, which posted a company record of nearly $15 billion net loss in 2008, has said it expects to return to profitability in 2011.

Mr. Pipas declined to provide specific sales figures on Ford’s gains, which are scheduled for release Monday, but he said he sees the industry’s selling rate for July to be higher than 11 million cars and trucks. Through the first half of this year, sales have been running at about 9.5 million to 9.6 million rate. The industry posted U.S. sales of 13.2 million vehicles last year.

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