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Toyota passes Ford for 2d in US

Toyota sold 2.62 million cars and trucks in 2007, 48,226 more than Ford, according to sales figures released yesterday. Toyota's sales were up 3 percent for the year, Ford's sales fell 12 percent. Toyota sold 2.62 million cars and trucks in 2007, 48,226 more than Ford, according to sales figures released yesterday. Toyota's sales were up 3 percent for the year, Ford's sales fell 12 percent. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
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Associated Press / January 4, 2008

DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp. overtook Ford Motor Co. to become the number two automaker by US sales in 2007, using new products and relentless strategy to break Ford's 75-year lock on the position.

Toyota sold 2.62 million cars and trucks in 2007, 48,226 more than Ford, according to sales figures released yesterday. Toyota's sales were up 3 percent for the year, buoyed by products like the redesigned Tundra pickup, which saw sales jump 57 percent. Ford's sales fell 12 percent to 2.572 million vehicles.

General Motors Corp. remained the US sales leader, selling 3.82 million vehicles in 2007. But that was down 6 percent from the previous year as customers turned away from some large sedans and sport-utility vehicles and GM cut low-profit sales to employees and rental car agencies. GM's car sales fell 8 percent for the year while truck sales were down 4 percent.

Overall, the year was expected to be the worst for the auto industry since 1998 as consumers fretted over high gas prices, falling home prices, and the economy.

December also was a tough month for automakers despite a slew of holiday discounts. Toyota's sales slipped 2 percent for the month, GM's were down 4 percent, and Ford's fell 9 percent.

Nissan Motor Co.'s December sales were down 2.4 percent, while Honda Motor Co.'s December sales were flat, with a 10 percent increase in car sales canceled by a 10 percent decline in truck sales.

"This was definitely a challenging year to be in the car business, and 2008 isn't likely to be a piece of cake," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda.

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