Ford Gains Ground in California

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said April sales rose 16.4%, as sales of Ford-brand cars surged by 45% and sales in small-car, import-crazed California rose 34%.

California had the largest increase among states in retail sales for the Ford brand, the company said, as the new Fiesta, Focus and Explorer are drawing new customers. In 2010, all five of the top-selling vehicles in California were imports.

Nationally, the new Fiesta sold 9,147 units, over 9,000 for the second month in a row; Crown Victoria sales rose 115% to 6,586 units, and the Fusion (pictured above) led all Ford products as sales rose 11.7% to 21,189, an April sales record for the model. Also, Focus sales rose 22% to 17,265.

Meanwhile, sales of Ford trucks rose 11.5%. Utility sales rose 11%, while total car sales including Lincoln rose 26%. Explorer sales rose 138% to 12,593. Ford's April sales totaled 189,778.

"With gasoline prices eclipsing $3.90 a gallon, consumers are placing an even higher priority on fuel efficiency in every size and kind of vehicle," said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. Marketing, in a prepared statement.

Ford said retail sales rose 10% while fleet sales rose 21%.

At midday Tuesday, Ford shares were dipping 5 cents to $15.41.

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

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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