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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 20:32 GMT
Ford sees rare rise in US sales
Ford Edge crossover vehicle
Ford has ended months of falling sales
Motor company Ford has seen its US sales rise for the first time in 12 months.

The carmaker sold 182,951 vehicles in the US in November - slightly more than the 182,259 it sold a year earlier.

Its Japanese rivals also saw sales rise - Nissan, Honda and Toyota clocked gains of 6.1%, 4.7% and 0.3%.

High oil prices, falling house prices and the credit crunch have meant consumers have little cash for cars and General Motors saw sales tumble by 11%.

Chrysler also saw its US sales fall, dipping 2% to 161,088 vehicles in November.

"Ford's increase shows the influence new products can have on sales," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Global Insight.

"We still think they are going to trend downward next year, but not at nearly the same rate as this year."

Ford said car sales fell 2% but truck sales rose 2% - helped by sales of the Ford Escape small sport utility vehicle and the Ford Edge.

Shares in Ford fell 3.5% to $7.25 while shares in General Motors fell 4.1% to $28.61.

Economic fallout

The wider economic picture in the US - shaken by the fallout from the sub-prime lending crisis - is influencing people's purchasing decisions, carmakers said.

Ford F-series pick-up
Ford's F-series pick-up trucks suffered falling sales

US car and light industry sales may be their lowest this year since 1998, analysts said.

Even though Toyota saw sales rise slightly overall, sales of its luxury Lexus brand fell 7%.

"Rising fuel prices and sliding home values delivered a one-two punch this month," Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota's US sales arm, said in a statement.

"But the industry's not down for the count. Demand for fresh, more fuel efficient products continues to show strength."

A weaker housing market in California and Florida dragged on sales, Nissan said.

Both Ford and General Motors - who have been losing market share to their foreign rivals - cut first-quarter production plans when they announced their November sales figures.

Ford economist Emily Kolinski Morris told reporters: "Clearly, we're concerned about the credit market turmoil and the softer economy so we're taking a cautious approach to planning our business."

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