http://wardsauto.com/auto-makers/ford-retail-sales-propel-au...That link is to a very interesting article on the subject. A couple quotes:With the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads pushing 11 years, consumers are flocking to showrooms to replace their aging cars. Additionally, most vehicle trade-ins have high mileage, making it an easy choice for car buyers to purchase new rather than used vehicles, Ford sales chief Ken Czubay says.“When consumers come in (to dealerships), they have the choice of high-mileage used vehicles or new vehicles with low interest rates,” he says during a conference call with analysts and journalists. “We believe that will sustain and build momentum of new-vehicle sales.”Ford sold 216,017 vehicles in August, with 79% of those deliveries representing retail sales, the highest percentage since 2006, with new-car retail volume up 15%, utilities up 16% and trucks up 30%.And this one:Czubay says Focus, Fusion and Explorer sales could have been higher if not for inventory constraints. The same was true for the Escape, which posted an 8.6% decline.An interesting problem for Ford. Their turnaround plan worked, they reduced costs, improved products.... and now they're selling well. But they're pretty close to being maxxed out. Now what do they do in North America? >>>* Build more capacity and build in more fixed costs (raising breakeven)?* Let someone else sell those vehicles when the market demand outstrips their capacity?The article says they're working real hard to tweak assembly line capacity, but the opportunities are limited. You can get 5% or 10%, but you don't get big jumps once you are running three shifts, seven days a week.Long time denizens of this board probably remember that I've fussed a lot about North American capacity, especially with C-platform vehicles (Focus, C Max, Escape).Personally, I'd like to see Ford build a C-platform plant in Mexico (or maybe South America.... depending on a bunch of factors that would be hard for me to assess). The CD capacity (for Fusion and others) is probably available in Canada (Oakville plant) and that would buy some time before another capacity decision has to be made.Rob
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