Ford tops GM in government orders for first time since '05

For the first time in five years, a G-Man's vehicle is more likely to be a Ford product than a GM product.

Although sales to government agencies only make up a small, low profit portion of overall new car sales, Ford Motor Company has more reason to smile this week than its crosstown rivals.

For the first time since 2005, Ford sold more cars via General Services Administration contracts than either General Motors or Chrysler. The Obama administration ordered 21,980 Ford vehicles, compared to 21,440 General Motors products and 13,063 Chrysler vehicles, for the fiscal year that ended September 30.

Ford is said to have sweetened government deals over concerns that its cross-town rivals, which were bailed out of bankruptcy, might receive preferential treatment.

"There was a paranoia that the government was going to buy GM and Chrysler models to help them out because they had a foot in the door," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive. "There was a definite concern for Ford."

The vehicles
As Leftlane has previously reported, the GSA is a particularly large hybrid customer. Its purchases account for an astounding one quarter of all new hybrid sales produced by Detroit automakers.

But hybrids weren't the only thing the GSA was interested in. The best-selling government vehicle continued to be the Chevrolet Impala, while the Ford Fusion was not far behind.

Despite the hybrid push, the GSA continued to buy vehicles not exactly associated with a "green" image. The Ford Ranger, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford F-Series trucks were all popular with the government.

Still, GSA sales were down compared to the year before, when federal stimulus money was rapidly being spent on replacing outdated vehicles. Government sales dropped 22 percent for Ford, 46 percent for GM and 9 percent for Chrysler; overall vehicle purchases by the GSA were down 28 percent.