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Ford, GM Boost Production to Meet Demand

Ford and GM will increase production of their cars in the coming months to meet cash-for-clunkers demand.
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DEARBORN, Mich. (TheStreet) -- Cash for clunkers has spurred demand for late-model Fords (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report, the nation's least-damaged automaker said Thursday.

To meet that demand, the company said it will boost production of its Focus and Escape models -- both of which have proven popular among those who have traded in their clunkers for cash.

In the third quarter, Ford now expects to put out 495,000 vehicles, up 2% from its earlier estimate. The margin includes 6,000 more Focuses and 3,500 more Escapes, Ford said.

The Focus, a compact car that gets an estimated 35 highway miles per gallon, is according to some estimates the most bought car purchased under the clunkers program. The Escape, meanwhile, a crossover SUV with fuel efficiency of 31 miles per gallon on the highway, ranks as high as 5th on some tabulations of trade-in popularity.

In other positive auto news Thursday,

General Motors


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CEO Fritz Henderson said he expects "robust" sales in August and September. Like Ford, GM will boost its production in response.

Henderson made the remarks in an interview aired Thursday morning on


. He didn't quantify how much GM would increase its production.

During the final week of July, GM saw a 30% increase in demand from the previous week, Henderson added. He too attributed the spike to the cash-for-clunkers program.

Shares of Ford were trading midday Thursday at $7.83, up 13 cents, or 1.7%, on lighter-than-normal volume of 42 million shares. Daily turnover averages about 100 million shares.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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