Ford expects sharp drop in U.S. sales, first-quarter not looking good

FoMoCo’s chief sales analyst George Pipas said today that the company expects industry-wide December U.S. sales to drop by 35 percent from the same period an year ago. He said that there is no sign of a turnaround during the first quarter of 2009.

“The sales rates have declined like a lead balloon,” Pipas told reporters today. “I think when December comes in every segment will be down. Not one segment will be up versus a year ago. We’re not looking for the first quarter to be much different from what we saw in the fourth quarter.”

According to Automotive News, Pipas said that the sharpest sales decline in 2008 will be full-size SUVs, a segment that U.S. consumers abandoned in the spring and summer when oil prices were at an all-year high.

Ford expects that its 2008 market share will end up just a little over 14 percent, down from 14.6 percent a year earlier, Pipas said.