Rebates and other incentives paid off in stronger sales for Ford Motor Co. in June, as it bucked the industry trend Thursday by reporting a 5 percent increase over its year-ago performance.
Ford, the last of the major automakers to report its U.S. sales, exceeded analysts’ expectations with its 4 percent improvement in car sales. Light truck sales gained 5 percent over June 1996.
It was the No. 2 automaker’s first overall improvement over year-ago levels since January.
Industrywide, sales were down 3 percent with Detroit once again taking the biggest hit. Big Three sales were off 5 percent, Asian automakers were up marginally and the Europeans posted a 7 percent gain.
Analyst David Garrity of Smith Barney said Ford faced a favorable comparison to June 1996, when its results lagged behind those of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp.
“That aside, it was the strongest month Ford’s had for car sales since September,” he said. “Their car sales came in far stronger than forecast.”
Garrity had expected a 6 percent decline in Ford’s car sales.
Ford has been offering rebates of up to $3,000 or financing as low as 1.9 percent on some models, mostly cars and minivans, as demand has weakened.