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Toyota Passes Ford for No. 2 in US Sales

-Toyota Overtakes Ford to Become the No. 2 Automaker by US Sales in 2007-

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. overtook Ford Motor Co. to become the No. 2 automaker by U.S. sales in 2007, using new products and relentless strategy to break Ford’s 75-year lock on the position.

Toyota sold 48,226 more cars and trucks than Ford, according to sales figures released Thursday. Toyota’s sales were up 3 percent for the year, buoyed by new products like the Toyota Tundra pickup, which saw sales jump 57 percent.

Ford’s sales fell 12 percent, ending with a whimper a year that is expected to be the worst for the auto industry since 1998 as consumers fretted over high gas prices and the economy.

Ford corporate historian Bob Kreipke said it was the first time since 1931 that Ford wasn’t second behind General Motors Corp. in U.S. sales.

Ford’s car sales plummeted 24 percent for all of 2007 as some models like the Ford Mustang aged and a new Ford Taurus sedan was unable to match the volumes of the older version. Truck sales were down 5 percent for the year.

Jim Farley, who recently became Ford’s global marketing chief after a career at Toyota, said the new numbers won’t change Ford’s recovery plan.

“In fact, it actually accelerates the way we’re running the business,” Farley told The Associated Press. “It accentuates the difference between how we’re running the business and how our competitors are running the business. It requires us to stick to the plan, no doubt, but it also requires us to really accelerate the development of new products.”

Farley pointed out that Ford had some hits in 2007, particularly its Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover vehicles. Ford crossovers grew 62 percent over the year, far outpacing the industrywide average of 17 percent.

Source: AP

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