Ford Motor Chief Executive Alan Mulally said on Thursday that the U.S. economy was on the right track to begin improving in the second half of the year.
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"We think we are right on track to start this recovery in the second half," Mulally told reporters on the sidelines of an an event promoting the Taurus sedan.
Any uptick in the U.S. economy would help U.S. vehicle sales to recover from near two-decade lows, sending two U.S. automakers and some auto parts suppliers into bankruptcy.
U.S. industry sales for first part of June was "a little better" than May, said Ford's president of Americas unit Mark Fields, who, was also present at the event.
U.S. auto sales fell nearly 34 percent in May from a year earlier, but aggressive discounting helped steady results for the battered industry with sales for the month reaching nearly 10 million units on an annualized basis.
The top executives at Ford, the only U.S. automaker not in bankruptcy, said the automaker is looking to further strengthen its balance sheet.
'We are very rapidly moving on our plan to improve the balance sheet," Mulally said. "Going forward, we will really accelerate that as we return to profitability and start repairing the balance sheet even more."
Ford shares were down more than 2 percent Thursday.