Ford says recalls have not hurt auto sales

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Published December 18, 2012

| Reuters

Ford Motor Co is not experiencing a hit to its auto sales as a result of a recent spate of safety recalls, Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields said.

"I think overall our sales are doing well," Fields told reporters on Tuesday, adding that consumers have a good perception of the quality of Ford products.

"But we also understand that's a very precious thing and we're working very hard every day to deliver that quality commitment to our costumers," said Fields.

Last week, Ford issued the fourth recall on its 2013 Escape crossover since July. The most recent recall was for increased risk of an engine fire due to a software glitch in the cooling system of the Escape as well as the midsize Fusion sedan.

On December 10, the same day as the Escape and Fusion recall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would investigate claims by Consumer Reports magazine that Ford's hybrid models of the Fusion and C-Max crossover fell well short of the official fuel economy rating of 47 miles per gallon.

Fields spoke with reporters after an event in Detroit where Fields and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced a $10 million program Ford is to fund to create a community center, youth recreation and summer camp and support for education and summer job programs.

Ford's 2103 Escape launched in July. Fields defended Ford's response to the safety recalls.

"I think on the Escape launch, we've had a few issues," said Fields. "Our approach to any of our issues were very proactive - we go out and fix it for our customers."

Fields said December sales were going well, but he declined to offer an estimate of this month's sales.

Ford sales in November rose 6.4 percent from the previous November.

Ford's 2012 sales through November were up 5 percent at 2.03 million new vehicles, for a 15.5 percent share of the U.S. auto market, down from 16.8 percent market share at the same time in 2011, when sales for Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> and Honda Motor Co <7267.T> were limited due to the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Ford is No. 2 in U.S. auto sales, behind market leader General Motors Co .

(Reporting by Rachelle Damico in Detroit; Editing by Bernie Woodall and Phil Berlowitz)

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