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Ford Europe sales fall 22 percent

by Drew Johnson

Following the market's general downward trend, Ford's European division posted a 22 percent sales decline in July.

While Ford's United States operations continue to crank out positive sales figures, the automaker's European division said on Friday that its July sales slipped 22 percent. Despite the drop off, Ford Europe says it continues to be profitable.

According to Ford Europe July sales figures, sales slipped 22 percent to 97,800 units. That decline was sharper than the overall European auto market, which saw sales fall 16 percent during the month of July.

Ford's best-selling European car - the Fiesta - was hit hard by the decline, with sales falling 28 percent to 28,600. Ford said the Fiesta remains Europe's second best-selling vehicle.

European car sales have been on the decline for the past several months, largely due to government incentives that have dried up. As a result, Ford's European market share has slipped from 9 percent in July 2009 to 8.3 percent last month, but the automaker has no plans to artificially inflate sales with incentives.

"Heavy discounting only damages brand reputation and further weakens the market," Ingvar Sviggum, Ford's vice president of marketing, sales and service said in a statement. Ford's plan appears to be working as the European division says its profits are up.