Updated: There may be some hope for Ford after all. The Blue Oval has posted a much smaller net loss for the quarter, which stands at $282 million. Though this seems a lot, it pales in comparison to the whopping $1.4 billion loss for the same period last year and shows that Ford is heading in the right direction with its latest product. Sales in both the US and global markets have increased, while its European division is actually turning a profit.

Original: To stand out amongst the crowd in today’s competitive car market, automakers are under constant pressure to release new and cutting edge halo models to keep buyers interested in the brand. When products start to become boring and predictable, carmakers quickly realize that loyal customers will move on at the drop of a hat. Ford experienced this with its once popular Taurus and Ranger models, which have languished in the sales race in recent times.

Ford currently has the oldest lineup of all the major carmakers, and The Detroit News is now reporting that the Blue Oval is trying to update its range by 2010. Unfortunately, the $12.7 billion loss it suffered last year means it may not even survive long enough to see the end of the decade.

The evidence is clear. New models such as the Fusion sedan and Edge crossover are bringing new customers, but older vehicles like the Explorer SUV and Focus sedan leave the image of an outdated lineup. Research group J.D. Power estimates 58.5% of Ford’s customers already own a Ford vehicle, which means close to half of its previous customers are defecting to other brands.

Unlike Ford, the reverse is true for Toyota, where most of its customers are new to the brand. Ford is working on the problem. By next year, roughly 70% of its lineup will be new or recently updated and this figure should jump to 100% of its fleet by the end of the decade.