Ford vs. GM: Comparing Their Hotties

Charlotte, N.C. (TheStreet) -- Americans have been comparing Ford (F) to General Motors for decades, and there's no reason to stop now.

The once-moribund GM has left its hospital bed and is preparing to relist its shares for public trading, the financial comparisons will become far easier.
GM

At the moment, however, Ford leads the charge between the two "based on sales growth, market share growth and positive change in consumer attitudes toward the brand," said TrueCar analyst Jesse Toprak.

But things could change. Consumer response to new GM vehicles appears positive. The allegedly-imminent GM IPO could well stimulate positive publicity. And of course, GM could get a jolt from its electric Volt.

In the meantime, here are a few model-to-model comparisons.

The new Chevrolet Camaro has proved to be a worthy competitor to the Mustang, but consumers are enthusiastic about both cars. The 2010 Camaro, introduced in May 2009, was the best-selling sports car in the U.S. in its first 12 months, posting 99,872 sales.

In the first six months of 2010, GM sold 46,378 Camaros while Mustang sales totaled 40,035. However, Mustang outsold Camaro in June, when Ford sold 8,974 Mustangs and GM sold 7,540 Camaros.

TrueCar reports a wide range of average pricing for Mustang models, starting at $22,245 for a two-door coupe and going up to $52,575 for a two-door convertible Shelby GT500. Average prices for Camaro models range from $23,530 to $34,795.

Over the last four weeks, some Camaro and Mustang models have been hot sellers, with average sales prices hitting above the sticker price. The 2011 Mustang Shelby GT500 has been averaging $900 above the sticker price, while the 2011 Camaro LS is selling about $400 over sticker price.

In terms of pricing above sticker, the two are the industry's number two and number three, behind the Tesla ( TSLA) Roadster.

Pitting the Chevrolet Cobalt against Ford's well-selling Focus, TrueCar's Toprak said the Focus is doing a lot better. "The Cobalt fell off a bit in terms of the early appeal factor, while we are seeing Focus continue to build momentum," he said.

In the first six months of 2010, Focus sales totaled 89,783 while Cobalt sales were 77,394. In June, Ford reported 15,145 Focus sales, and GM reported 10,141 Cobalt sales.

For pricing, TrueCar said average sales price for the Cobalt ranged from $15,710 to $25,255 during the past month. Focus prices have ranged from $17,015 to $19,505.

When it comes to trucks, the F-150 is America's best-selling vehicle and retains its edge. But the Silverado is also performing well. "In terms of the product and how far they have come in design, functionality and price, these are the best trucks each company has ever sold," said Toprak.

In the first six months of 2010, F-150 sales totaled 240,345, up 34%, while Silverado sales rose 25% to 166,782. June was a particularly strong month for pickup sales, which some view as a sign that the construction industry is strengthening. In June, F Series sales rose 29% to 46,502, while Silverado sales rose 25% to 30,994.

The resurgence in large pickup truck sales was a key factor in June's results, GM said. Combined sales of the Silverado, the Chevrolet Avalanche and the GMC Sierra rose 27% for the month. Meanwhile, Ford noted that sales of the 2011 F-Series Super Duty rose 58% for the month and captured more than half of the heavy duty pickup segment, marking the first time since 2000 that Super Duty had achieved a 50% chare.

As for pricing, TrueCar said average sales price for the nearly five dozen F-150 variants ranges from $22,795 to $47,475. Average pricing for the Silverado ranges from $21,845 to $48,815.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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