Auto industry observers are closely following the recent uptick in Ford’s sales numbers. Although General Motors still outsells Ford, the gap between the two companies is rapidly narrowing. According to Nick Bunkley from Autonews.com, Ford’s sales numbers are on the verge of upsetting longheld notions about the industry. In 2007, the last year before the onset of the Great Recession, GM was outselling Ford by 105,000 vehicles per month. Bunkley reports that this gap fell below 25,000 in 2013. In fact, September saw Ford almost upset GM’s position in an extraordinary rally. That month, Ford fell short of its rival by only 2,743 units. To present the numbers in an even starker light, September saw GM sales drop by 11 percent.
There is no easy way out for GM if it hopes to keep its longheld status as the dominant U.S automaker. During the recent recession, the rivalry between GM and Ford was largely minimized and downplayed. In those difficult years, U.S auto firms were so beleaguered, they found it easy to present a united front to the world. Occasional bickering aside, Detroit was cooperating to resell the public on the need to purchase new automobiles.
In the run-up to 2014, the U.S public has largely regained the confidence and the credit access to give new car dealers their due. As industry sales numbers surge ahead, old rivalries are also accelerating to a fevered pitch. Feeling the crunch, GM is taking advantage of low gas prices and pushing a new line of pickups with innovative designs.
Though these new designs are impressive, it is still uncertain if they can revive GM’s fortunes. For one thing, GM lags behind Ford in improving fuel economy for its full-sized pickups. Reuters’ Paul Lienert reports that it will take GM until 2019 to match the economizing features of Ford’s 2014 F-150. If gas prices rise sharply in the next few years, GM’s pickup sales could tumble precipitously.
Overall, it is a very reasonable assumption that Ford will manage to equal or pass GM in 2014. Ford should continue reaping the rewards of its years-long effort to win the hearts and wallets of the U.S public. It is hard to imagine that the GM Company can adequately transform its corporate culture before 2015.
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