September Ford Ranger sales down 48 percent from last year

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September sales of Ford Ranger pick-up trucks, manufactured in St. Paul, fell about 48 percent compared to last year.

Ford spokesman George Pipas said Ranger sales enjoyed big year-over-year gains in July and August, due in large part to the cash for clunkers program.

"Ranger was so popular during the cash for clunkers program in late July and August that we basically ran out of inventory and didn't have a chance to replenish it in September as a result of some planned down weeks," Pipas said.

Pipas said he expects the Ranger plant will be running steadily in the final three months of the year.

"They will working pretty steadily throughout the fourth quarter because we have only about 2,000 Rangers in our inventory, spread around roughly 4,000 dealers from coast to coast," he said.

Officials at the St. Paul Ford Ranger plant did not immediately return calls for comment. The plant is slated to close in 2011.

Ford's overall sales were down about 5 percent compared to September 2008, the best performance of the big three automakers. General Motors and Chrysler both reported drops of more than 40 percent.