More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. plans to maintain its leadership in fullsize pickup sales in 2005, following a record year in F-Series sales in 2004.

“We said we’d like to do at least 900,000 in the coming year,” Ford Div. President Steve Lyons says during a press conference here following the company’s North American International Auto Show press conference.

The auto maker sold 939,511 units in 2004, topping its 2003 mark by 11% and the previous 911,597 record set in 2001. (See related story: F-Series Record Set; Capacity Boost Could Follow)

“A lot will depend on the size of the industry, but our real goal clearly is to maintain the market share we have with our fullsize pickups.”

Ford set a record in a year Nissan North America Inc. launched its all-new Titan fullsize pickup, but struggled to meet initial sales expectations.

Ford’s F-150, redesigned for ’04, and the F-Super Duty lineup, launched for ’05, make up the F-Series lineup in the U.S.

“Our objective this year is to protect the share that we’ve grown,” Marty Collins, Ford Div. general marketing manager, tells Ward’s. But “we’re not going to make a proclamation and tell you we’re going to 940,000. We’re not doing that.”

Although the auto maker has capacity to exceed 1 million units in annual production at four F-Series production sites in the U.S., Lyons shies away from predicting a 1-million-unit year at any point in the future.

Ford will build an additional 8,000 F-Super Duty vehicles in the first half of 2005 vs. like-2004, Lyons says, thanks to productivity improvements at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, KY.

More capacity likely will be freed in second-half 2005, when the auto maker discontinues the Super Duty-based Excursion SUV, which ate up about 20,000 units of production in 2004.

“We’ve got no reason to be anything but bullish” on F-Series sales, Collins says. “There’s no competitive action out there right now in terms of product that we need to be concerned about for 2005 calendar year.”

jstoll@primediabusiness.com