Ford's U.S. sales jumped 37 percent in the first three months of this year. Only Subaru and Volkswagen had higher gains. Ford's year-over-year U.S. market share gain for the quarter, at 2.7 percentage points, was the largest gain since 1977, when results were skewed by a strike.
"I did some research. 'Saturday Night Fever' was just being launched in theaters, along with 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.' So it's been a long time," Fields told reporters at an industry breakfast in Detroit.
The automaker saw market share increases across its Ford brand, according to George Pipas, Ford's top U.S. sales analyst. The F-Series truck now holds 38.5 percent of the U.S. market, up from 33.2 percent in the first quarter last year. Sales of the Ford Fusion midsize sedan jumped 81 percent in the quarter.
Ford's Mercury and Lincoln brands held on to their market share, but didn't see big increases. Pipas said that was partly the result of Ford's decision to put most of its marketing resources behind the Ford brand during the economic downturn.
"If we were going to fix the business, we had to fix the Ford brand, because that's where we had the best chance of getting a return," he said. "Now it's up to us to make progress, now that we're not thinking about where our next meal is going to come from."
Ford shares fell 2 cents to $12.75 in early afternoon trading.