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Sharp Drops in Sales Attributed To Uninspiring Product Lineup

After years of weak financial performance, Ford Motor Co. turned it around last year by reporting $3.5 billion in net income, thanks to improved efficiencies, financing income and international sales.


But there was one big fly in the ointment: U.S. sales fell 4.5 percent, sending the company’s domestic market share down to 19.6 percent from 20.8 percent.

And that’s what really matters to local car dealerships.


Four Ford dealerships made the Business Journal’s latest list of top dealerships in Los Angeles County as ranked by revenue. But reflecting the automaker’s sagging fortunes, all saw their vehicle sales and revenue decline by a combined 3,019 units and $105.6 million.


Galpin Ford, the national’s No. 1 Ford dealer for the past 15 years, took the biggest hit, reporting a drop in revenue of $73.4 million, or nearly 17 percent, according to Wards, an automotive research firm.


The culprit, according to many in the industry, was an uninspiring product lineup that only recently has seen some improvements.


“To be unpopular in L.A. can make you unpopular in the rest of the country,” said Ivan Feinseth, who covers Ford for institutional investors as research director for Matrix Investment Research in New York.


Also seeing declines were Power Ford Valencia, Vista Ford in Woodland Hills and Power Ford Torrance. Only one other dealership on the list saw a decline in sales last year: Cerritos Buick Pontiac GMC, which sells a lineup of General Motors Corp. vehicles.


With around 5,000 new or used auto dealerships in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the region is considered the nation’s most competitive and trend-setting. Car buyers here not only tend to be more open to imports, but their tastes often set the tone for the rest of the country.



*The full story will be available in the August 22 edition of the Business Journal.

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