Currently reading: Ford to ramp up US production
Blue Oval hopes to take advantage of rivals' struggles

Ford is planning to increase US production of cars and trucks by ten per cent year on year, in an effort to gain market share while rivals GM and Chrysler restructure.

Ford - the only one of Detroit's Big Three car makers not to take government bailout loans - plans to ramp up production in the third quarter of 2009.

A Ford insider told the Wall Street Journal website: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to separate us from our other domestic competitors. No one is going to gift wrap it for us. You have to deliver the products people want to buy. That said, you have to take this historic opportunity to grab market share."

However, Ford executives publicly played down the opportunity to capitalise while their rivals suffered.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said: "This is not a case of 'Gee, let's stick it to them.' We have been watching our inventory levels and we've seen our market share grow. This is really just us working our plan."

Fields did suggest sale conditions were improving, though. "We're starting to see light nearing at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Ford currently holds a 13 per cent market share of the US market, and has gained on its rivals in six of the past seven months.

The bulk of the production increase will be focused on the Ford F-150 pick-up truck, which continues to sell well despite concerns over rising fuel prices.

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