ford motor companyFord Predicts Rise in Retail Sales
Wednesday May 30, 1:48 am ET, AP

Ford Official Predicts Rise in Retail Sales, Fueled by Crossovers
A Ford Motor Co. official predicts that his company's overall U.S. sales will drop in May, but its retail sales to individual buyers will show a year-over-year monthly increase for the first time since October of 2006. George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst, told reporters Tuesday that the increase, which includes only the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands, would be fueled largely by rising sales of new crossover vehicles.

He said overall sales, which include those made to rental car companies and other fleet buyers, would drop by a single-digit percentage when compared with May of last year. Ford is trying to cut low-profit sales to rental car companies, and Pipas said that would drop about 20 percent in May from the same month last year.

Pipas based his retail sales prediction on data collected through Monday night, but he would not predict the size of the increase. "The way things are progressing, it could well be our highest level of retail sales since August of last year," when the company was trying to clear out vehicles at the end of a model year, he said.

The better retail sales results are due to rapidly rising sales of the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, which are vehicles that can do the things a truck-based sport utility vehicle can but are more fuel efficient because they are built on car underpinnings.

[via Yahoo Finance]