Data highlight the source of Ford's record profits in 2010

(January 29, 2010) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Ford announced on Friday its biggest profit in a decade in 2010 — and data gathered by confirms that Ford is on an impressive trajectory.

Simple economics provide at least part of the picture for why Ford had such a profitable year.

With a whittled-down workforce, Ford's sales climbed 17.6 percent in 2010 compared with 2009. The average transaction price, meanwhile, rose 7.7 percent to $30,313 as True Cost of Incentives (TCI) for Ford buyers fell 4.5%, according to Edmunds.

Car buyers in general have grown more curious about what the company had to offer. By the end of 2010, 18.1 percent of visitors looked at a Ford model, making it the brand's highest level of consideration ever on the site — and a dramatic increase from 13.5 percent consideration at the end of 2009.

Ford's success has also had an undeniable impact on its competition. According to's cross-shopping metrics, every other automaker — from traditional competitors like Chevy and Dodge, to luxury brands like Audi and Mercedes — has had a noticeable increase in shoppers comparing their models to Ford vehicles in the last year.

"In 2010 Ford found a way to compete for the hearts and minds of car buyers across all segments," said Ivan Drury, industry analyst at Edmunds. "That's a testament to the company's product development and its aggressive marketing strategy. Ford has done a great job spreading the word about its technology and fuel economy improvements throughout its entire fleet, and those messages are resonating with consumers."

One way the company hopes to continue the momentum is with the newly redesigned Ford Explorer. As Ford shifted its attention toward cars and crossovers in recent years, the Explorer's market share of the midsize SUV segment hit an all-time low in 2009 and 2010, hovering below 4 percent for the first time ever.

That's a far cry from the Explorer's 12 percent share of the segment just five years ago, and the 44 percent share it earned when it was first introduced in 1990. In 2010, Explorers made up 3.6 percent of all of Ford's total sales, according to That share is down significantly from its peak of 14.7 percent of sales in 2002.

A review of the 2011 Ford Explorer on Edmunds' declares that the model has reinvented itself as a more carlike crossover vehicle with better handling and fuel economy. also finds that market conditions are ripe for the Explorer's revival — the overall market share of midsize SUVs has climbed 30 percent in the last decade.

"Ford is coming back with a stronger product in a segment that's taking a greater share of the overall automotive market," said Drury. "Our data show that consumers are now considering the Explorer much more than they have over the last few years."