fordFord Motor (F) reported Thursday that vehicle sales rose in June, compared to year ago when sales were driven lower by a deep recession. For the month, the Dearborn, Mich.-based company said overall sales rose 15.4%, pushed higher by strong demand for its Mustang sports car and a pickup in sales of heavy duty trucks.

Sales of Ford's 2011 F-Series Super Duty were 58% higher than a year ago, the company said, while retail sales for the Mustang were 37% higher than a year ago. With the arrival of the 2011 model, which features new more powerful and fuel efficient engines, Mustang's share of the market rose to its highest level in more than a year, the automaker said.

For the month, Ford delivered a total 170,900 cars and trucks, compared to 148,153 in June 2009. For the year, sales are up 28% above last year's levels, it said.

Within its divisions, the company said namesake Ford brand sales rose 16.2%, while those
at luxury-division Lincoln slumped 11.5% for the month, compared to a year ago. Mercury, meanwhile gained 26.2%, but sold just 9,250 vehicles. Ford announced plans to cease building Mercury cars and SUVs last month.

Earlier in the day, crosstown rival General Motors reported overall sales rose 10.7%, compared to year ago, while those at its core Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet brands rose nearly 36% compared to June 2009. For the month, the Detroit-based automaker sold 195,380 vehicles, up from 176,571 a year ago.

All automakers are reporting U.S. sales Thursday. Combined sales are expected to be about 10% lower than May. Sales at both GM and Ford fell 13% in June when compared to May.

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