"With our strongest-ever line of products, we're pleased to see more signs the economy is growing and the demand for new vehicles is increasing," said Ken Czubay,vice president of U.S. sales, in a statement. "Ford's broad range of high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles is driving one of our best years ever and positioning Ford to deliver improved results in the future."
The Dearborn, Mich.-based manufacturer said car sales rose 25% in November, while utility vehicles gained 13% and trucks jumped 34%. Year-to-date, Ford said, its car sales are up 18%, utility vehicles are higher by 15%, and truck sales are up 29%.
Among its car lines, the Focus, Fiesta and Fusion saw strong demand, Ford said. Sales of the Fusion, for example, were up 28%. The model competes in a overcrowded segment against such popular models as the Toyota (TM) Camry and Honda (HMC) Accord.
Ford released its sales data shortly after that of General Motors (GM), which reported an overall 11% gain during the month. (Toyota, Honda and other foreign makes will release November sales data later Wednesday.)
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In the utility vehicle segment, the recently revised Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX each saw strong gains in sales, with the Edge increasing 55% compared to year-ago levels, and the MKX gaining 39%. Demand for trucks, among them Ford's line of F-Series pickups, rose 34% overall, the automaker said.
Separately, Ford said Wednesday that the company has started production of the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer SUV at its Chicago Assembly plant on the city's South Side. The company has invested more than $400 million in the plant, where it plans to add a second shift, along with 1,200 new Chicago-area jobs.
The new Explorer, the SUV's first major revamp since its introduction in 1990, is more fuel efficient and technologically advanced than the outgoing model it replaces. Since it was introduced 20 years ago, Ford has sold more than 6 million Explorers.