Ford's Europe Sales Down 12% in July

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said Thursday its sales in Europe fell more than 12% in July.

Ford's Italy sales slipped 30%, while Russia sales gained 13%. The company said overall auto sales for both July and year-to-date through July were at their lowest levels since 1995.

The company remains the second best-selling brand in Europe, for both the month and year-to-date. July sales in its traditional 19 European markets fell 12.3% to 83,100 vehicles, while year-to-date sales are down 10.6% to 700,200. For all automakers in the the region, July sales fell 7.6% to 1.1 million, while year-to-date sales are down 7% to 8.8 million.

Ford's July market share in Europe was 7.7%.

"Overall industry sales remain very weak across much of Europe given the economic environment," said Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe vice president for marketing, sales and services, in a prepared statement. "The pricing environment continues to be very aggressive, so it's very important to have a strong line-up of fresh and innovative cars and commercial vehicles that really resonate with customers.

In the UK, Ford's largest European market, Ford July sales rose 2% to 24,300. In Germany, Ford's second largest market, Ford sales fell 7% to 19,300. In Russia, sales gained 13% to 10,400. In Turkey, sales fell 14% to 8,700. In Italy, sales fell 30% to 8,300.

During Ford's second quarter earnings call, the company's executives pledged to take action in Europe, where the automaker expects to lose $1 billion this year.

"We absolutely have overcapacity now," said CEO Alan Mulally, responding to a reporter's question about European overcapacity. "We are assuming this is a structural issue not a cyclical issue. It's not going to come back ... We're bringing production down because demand is not there."

The company has not yet identified where production cuts will be made.

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

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