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Ford to gamble on ramped up production
Ford Motor Co., which is increasingly optimistic about a turnaround in the U.S. economy, plans to increase third-quarter production by 15,000 cars and 10,000 trucks in the July-September period, a company spokesman said today.

The company now plans to produce 485,000 vehicles in the third quarter, or 16% more vehicles than it produced last year during the same period.

Automakers are slated to report monthly sales on Wednesday.

Ford top sales analyst George Pipas estimates that for the first time since last September industry sales of new cars and trucks in the United States will decline less than 30% compared with the same year-ago period.

In normal times, that would be viewed as a large decline. But for the beleaguered automotive industry, which is struggling through with a wide-ranging economic crisis, it would be an improvement.

“One of the most important takeaways to me is that It’s not going backward,” said Pipas, who predicts Ford will increase its market share again in June.

Pipas said improved consumer confidence and a reduced rate of jobless claims provide evidence the economy is improving. He expects the rest of the year to improve.

“In the second half (of 2009), We could see economic growth,” he said, “and we could see higher levels of auto sales.” Detroit Free Press

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