DETROIT — Ford held off Toyota as the No. 2 U.S. vehicle seller in December despite a nearly 13 percent sales drop compared with a year ago. Industry leader General Motors reported a 13 percent December sales decline.
Ford Motor Co. sold a total of 231,900 light vehicles in December, with Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. coming in just below the Dearborn-based automaker at 228,322, the companies reported Wednesday. But Toyota’s sales for the month rose more than 12 percent versus a year ago.
The world’s largest automaker, General Motors Corp., reported December sales fell to 334,501 vehicles compared with 384,620 in the same month of 2005.
Some analysts had expected Ford’s sales would drop enough in December for Toyota to take the No. 2 spot. But even though truck sales declined dramatically for the month, car sales rose enough to keep Ford ahead of the Japanese automaker.
Toyota beat Ford in July and November, and some analysts have predicted that it will overtake Ford as the No. 2 seller of automobiles in the U.S. in 2007.
For the year, Ford’s sales were down about 8 percent to 2,918,674, due largely to a decline in truck and sport utility vehicle sales and the end of production for the Taurus sedan.