A WSJ.COM News Roundup
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co.'s sales declined 5.5% in October,
hurt by air-bag problems and the effect of the Firestone tire recall on
demand for the Explorer sports-utility vehicle.
Ford said total vehicle sales fell to 299,639 from
316,954 units in October 1999.
U.S. sales of passenger cars dropped 11.8% to
112,866 units from 128,015 a year earlier. The
company attributed the decline in car sales
primarily to weaker sales for the discontinued
Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique compact
cars and the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury
Grand Marquis full-size models as the company
replaced faulty air-bag modules.
U.S. truck sales totaled 186,773, down 1.1%
from 188,939, reflecting lower sales for
minivans, which also were hurt by the air-bag
problem, and lower sales for the Ford F-Series
pickup. Sales of the Ford Windstar minivan
tumbled 21% and Mercury Villager sales declined
To expedite replacement of defective air-bag modules, the auto maker
has reduced production schedules this week and will suspend
production next week at two assembly plants, Ford said. The moves will
divert air-bag modules to vehicles in dealer and company inventory from
production of new vehicles.
Ford also has been hurt by the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires.
Earlier this month, the car maker reported a 7% decline in earnings from
operations, noting that the tire recall cost it $500 million before taxes,
which included production shutdowns to divert tires and costs related
to tire replacements.
Ford on Wednesday said October sales of its SUVs rose 11% from a
year earlier, with sales of the new Escape compact SUV more than
offsetting a 16% decline in Explorer sales, the company said. Escape
sales totaled 9,818 in the month, up 29% from September.