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DEARBORN, Mich. — A recent fleet delivery of 2,500 vehicles to Kraft Foods prompted Ford officials to highlight the sales and residual strength of its fleet units.

The automaker contends that its share of the national fleet market stood at 24.8 percent through December of 2009. Executives indicated that this figure marked a 1.9-point increase over the same period in 2008.

Ford also emphasized that its share of commercial and government fleets was the highest of any vehicle manufacturer with F-Series trucks, E-Series vans, Focus, Fusion and Escape as top sellers.

Ford sales analyst George Pipas shared even more positive news about the OEM's fleet successes.

"Fleet customers are giving Ford more consideration because they're watching their costs carefully, and they know that our residual values, fuel economy and quality have improved significantly," Pipas explained.

"The projected resale value of Ford vehicles from the 2009 to 2010 model year increased by more than $1,300 per vehicle — that's more than any other full-line manufacturer," he pointed out.

Fueling Ford's latest fleet performance was Kraft Foods bringing 2,500 vehicles online. The company chose the 2010 Fusion for its national sales staff

Kraft Foods noted that it conducted a thorough lifecycle cost analysis of dozens of vehicles from various manufacturers before deciding on the Fusion for its U.S. sales fleet.

"Transportation and distribution is one of six sustainability focus areas at Kraft Foods," stated John Dmochowsky, sales fleet manager at Kraft Foods.

"The company has realized substantial fuel and cost savings over the last several years by switching from six- to four-cylinder engines," Dmochowsky added.

Choosing the Fusion for its fleet helped Kraft Foods continue its strategy of reducing fuel emissions, according to Dmochowsky. He mentioned that the company has curtailed these emissions by 6.5 percent during the last two years.

"It comes down to total cost of ownership and the right vehicle for the job, and we hit both elements with the Ford Fusion," Dmochowsky stressed.

"In addition to being fuel efficient, the Fusion has a comfortable, spacious interior and an attractive design. It's a good reflection on Kraft Foods," he continued.