Ford puts hold on production of Windstar vans TTC

January 20, 1995|By New York Times News Service

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that it would not make any of its Windstar minivans next week, citing a drop in dealer orders.

The production cutback for the Windstar, which is less than a year old and has been one of Ford's most popular products, fanned fears among auto industry analysts that the market for new vehicles may be softening as interest rates climb.

Ford's move followed a cutback in the production of its small cars, and a decision by Chrysler Corp. to postpone plans to increase the production of its small cars.

But Ford said it had seen no slowing of sales for the minivan or in the market generally. The automaker attributed the drop in orders to the effect of rising interest rates on dealers, not buyers.

Wall Street analysts disputed Ford's view, noting that inventory figures suggested that dealers were already carrying more minivans and small cars than they could sell.

"This has been such a strong market for so long, and suddenly we've hit a wall," said Jack Kirnan, auto analyst for Salomon Bros. in New York. "There's clearly been a slowing."

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