Ford of Europe’s sales fell for the fourth-consecutive month in July as registrations were down 22.3 percent to 97,800 vehicles in the company's main 19 European markets.
Ford has warned that it expects its 2010 sales in Europe to decline because of the end of scrapping incentives and because it will not use deep discounts to maintain volumes achieved in 2009.
"High discounts on new cars – as many of our competitors are continuing to offer – can have the negative effect of lowering the residual value, of a vehicle and imply a risk to the investment a customer has made when buying a new car," Ingvar Sviggum, Ford of Europe’s vice president of marketing, sales and service, said in a statement Friday. "I believe such unsustainable heavy discounting only damages brand reputation and further weakens the market."
Last month Sviggum said that since the scrapping programs ended in places such as Germany, Italy and the UK, some rivals have been offering discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent.
Government-sponsored scrapping programs launched last year in key European markets such as Germany and Italy re-energized the industry, leading to a strong surge in sales and production in the second half of last year.
Automakers have been unable to match the pace of the artificially inflated sales. According to Ford's data, overall sales in its main 19 markets were down 16 percent to 1,178,700 units.
Ford registered 815,100 vehicles in its traditional 19 European markets in the first seven months of 2010, 57,000 units or 6.5 percent below 2009. By comparison, overall sales in those markets slipped 1 percent to 9,460,000.
Ford's year-to-date July market share in its main markets was 8.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage points compared to the same period in 2009.