Ford Sales Gain 14%, Led by Focus

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said sales increased 14% in February as consumers flocked to fuel-efficient vehicles.

The automaker sales gains were led by a compact Focus' 115% gain to 23,350, its strongest February sales performance since 2000.
Sales of the 2012 Ford Focus rose 115% gain to 23,350, the model's strongest February sales performance since 2000.

It wasn't just small cars that sold. Sales of the F-Series pickup truck, the most popular U.S. vehicle, rose 26%, to 47,273. V6 engines accounted for 57% of F-Series retail sales, and fuel-saving EcoBoost technology was in 43% of vehicles.

While the Focus was a big winner, other Ford cars saw declines. Fusion sales were down 6%, to 21,773, possibly in advance of the arrival of the 2013 Fusion. Fiesta sales fell 12%, to 5,518. Taurus sales fell 23%, to 4,329 units. Still overall sales of Ford cars gained 16%, to 62,869.

Overall Ford sales were 179,119. Retail sales rose 19%. Ford brand sales increased by 14% And Lincoln brand sales increased by 16%.

"Sales momentum built as February unfolded, with higher fuel prices driving consumer demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles in the second half of the month," said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, Chrysler led off the February sales reports, saying it gained 40% for the month, far ahead of estimates. Ford also bested estimates. Automakers will report February sales throughout the day.

"Chrysler's sales performance continues to be nothing short of phenomenal," says Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs in a statement. "Its sales were up 40% from a year ago, not only outpacing the industry but surpassing projections.

"Chrysler's sales increase was delivered despite a hefty 24% decline in incentives compared with a year ago," Krebs said.

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

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