Old Media Continues to Hide Major Reason for Ford's Free-Fall

The returns are in for car company sales, both for December and all of 2007 (first figure is December, second is for full year; sources are here, here, and here):

- GM: -4.4%, -6.0%
- Toyota: -1.7%, +3.1%
- Ford: -9%, -11.8%
- Chrysler: +2%, -3.1%
- Nissan: -2.4%, +4.8%
- Honda: flat, +2.8%

Toyota is listed second for a reason that would have been almost unthinkable three years ago (bolds are mine):

Ford Motor Co., in the midst of a restructuring, fell to No. 3 in U.S. auto sales last year, as Toyota Motor Corp. posted its 12th straight year of record U.S. sales and moved up to second place behind General Motors Corp.

Even though Ford held on to pickup leadership with its F-Series -- the nation's best-selling vehicle nameplate for 26 years and the best-selling truck for 31 years -- the company's Ford brand is no longer the nation's best-selling make (Note: Chevrolet now is -- Ed.).

..... George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst, noted that the company's sales decline was largely expected and planned at the beginning of the year. Ford deliberately cut sales to the fleet market, where vehicles are sold in bulk at discount. He said the decline was 18%.

Pipas said Ford's retail sales in showrooms fell 10%. He acknowledged that those sales were at lower-than-desired levels during the last two months of the year.

Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president for marketing and communications, said Ford is accelerating its product plan and will unveil a "humble and honest" marketing approach next year, although he declined to give more details.

"We're going to stick to our guns," he said.

..... Despite all the new trucks and incentives, executives at Ford were proud the company held on to its truck leadership, with 690,589 sales. That is a far cry from the 900,000-plus sales Ford recorded in 2004 and 2005, but it allowed the F-Series truck to keep a solid, if shrinking, lead over the Silverado and its 618,257 sales.

Ford plans to launch an all-new 2009 F150 late this year -- about the time the housing crisis might ease, it hopes.

The industry's overall decline in unit sales was 2.5%. Considering Ford's drop and its 14.8% market share in 2007, that means the other car companies collectively sold less than 1% fewer vehicles than they did the previous year.

What's going on? In 2007, Ford decided that its slavish devotion to politically correct causes was more important than trying to stay Number Two overall and maintaining the Number One brand. Toyota didn't just pass Ford, it left the Dearborn-based company in the dust, selling an astonishing 234,000 more vehicles.

Old Media continues to look the other way and make excuses for Ford, including some of the items bolded in the excerpt, as the American Family Association's boycott of the company (what I call "The Biggest Boycott Never Reported," now up to over 775,000 signers) over its open support of homosexual rights, events, publications, and causes enters its 23rd month. In that time, I estimate that Ford's sales have fallen about 16%.

I have previously estimated that the AFA boycott is impacting the buying decisions of 15-20 million adults making up at least 10% of the potential market (Cliff's Notes: The AFA has 3 million members who influence 3-5 other adults; the dozens of other profamily organizations that have signed on to the boycott are also influencing milllions).

The idea, in the face of the hard sales numbers, that the AFA boycott is not a factor that continues to merit no mention in Old Media reporting has gone well beyond absurd.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.