Brisk Focus Sales Fuel Strong Start for Ford in 2012

Ford's U.S. sales rose 7% in January, marked by growth in sales of the Focus sedan and Escape SUV.

Ford Motor Co. said its January U.S. sales increased 7% year-over-year, driven by strong demand for its Ford Focus compact sedan.

The automaker reported U.S. sales of 136,710 vehicles in January, with sales of the Focus contributing nearly one-third of the sales growth.

Ford sold 14,400 Focus sedans in January, a 60% year-over-year increase and the best January for Focus sales since 2003.

"January started off with solid sales versus year-ago levels," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. "Ford saw the same solid month, with smaller vehicles in higher demand. Escape continued its record-setting run, and Focus set the pace for car sales in California, Texas and the Southeast."

Ford's core strength continues to be trucks, with more than 75% of the V-6 full-size pickup market in the United States. Ford sold 38,493 F-Series trucks in January, an 8% year-over-year increase.

EcoBoost-equipped F-150s represented 42% of retail sales in January, the automaker reported.

The automaker noted that it sold 131,589 Ford-brand vehicles in January, marking the best January for the brand since 2008.

The Ford Escape compact SUV also posted a strong month, with 17,259 units sold, marking the Escape's best January ever.

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