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Ford Nov Sales Dn 9.6%, Behind Toyota
Ford Motor Co. (F) said its sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. dropped 9.6% in November, hurt by a sharp decline in truck sales and lower fleet sales as the auto maker was surpassed by Toyota Motor Co. (TM) in monthly sales for the second time this year.

The No. 2 U.S. auto maker also cut its fourth-quarter North American production forecast by an additional 15,000 vehicles to 620,000. That's on top of the 20% cut it already announced and reflects the temporary suspension of Freestar production at the Oakville plant in Ontario, Canada, Ford said in a release. Ford also said it will cut first-quarter 2007 production by 14.4% to 750,000 vehicles, which is the high end of its prior estimate of a first half production cut of 8%-12%.

The monthly decline included Ford's flagship F-Series pickup trucks, which slipped 16% in November. Explorer SUV sales were down 10%. But sales of Ford's redesigned full-size SUVs, the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator were up 14% and 65%, respectively.

In a press release, Ford said its inventory level sat at 631,000 vehicles at the end of November, 122,000 lower than a year ago. The company estimates 85% of the inventory is new 2007 models.

Jedi - any comments on those inventory numbers (is 15% left for 2006 good or bad)? Comments on anything else?


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