Ford returns to the number 1 spot

Ford said it sold 142,285 cars and trucks in its home market in February, a 43.1% surge that puts the company back atop the mass automotive market it built more than century ago.

“A month in which Ford outsells General Motors is a very rare month indeed, at least in the last 80 years,” Kelley Blue Book analyst Jack Nerad said. “And a month in which it occurs when GM is not in the throes of a strike is even more rare.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the industry came in at 10.38 million vehicles, according to Autodata. That’s up from a paltry 9.17 million in February 2009.

Ford car sales surged 54% and truck sales rose 36% from a year earlier. The company, which continues to thrive in the wake of competitor bankruptcies and mounting quality woes, reached a total U.S. market share of perhaps 17%. That’s an increase of about three percentage points from a year earlier.

“This might be Ford’s best lineup of vehicles ever,” analyst Jesse Toprak said. “GM is on the right path, but Ford has a distinct advantage right now and will likely remain the leader for the foreseeable future.”

On the production front, Ford said it plans to build 595,000 vehicles in the second quarter, up 144,000 vehicles, or 32%, from the same period a year ago. Ford left its first-quarter production plan at 570,000 vehicles, unchanged from the prior forecast.

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