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The Japanese automaker's sales rose in 2007 while Ford and No. 1 GM lost market share.
DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp. overtook Ford Motor Co. to become the No. 2 automaker by U.S. sales in 2007, using new products and relentless strategy to break Ford's 75-year lock on the position.
Toyota sold 2.62-million cars and trucks in 2007, 48,226 more than Ford, according to sales figures released Thursday. Toyota's sales were up 3 percent for the year, buoyed by new products like the Toyota Tundra pickup, which saw sales jump 57 percent.
Ford's sales fell 12 percent to 2.572-million vehicles.
General Motors Corp. remained the U.S. sales leader, selling 3.82-million vehicles in 2007. But that was down 6 percent from the previous year as customers turned away from some large sedans and sport utility vehicles and GM cut low-profit sales to employees and rental car agencies. GM's car sales fell 8 percent for the year, while truck sales were down 4 percent.
Overall, the year was expected to be the worst for the auto industry since 1998 as consumers fretted over high gas prices, falling home prices and the economy.
"This was definitely a challenging year to be in the car business, and 2008 isn't likely to be a piece of cake," Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda, said in a statement.
Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said beating Ford wasn't important to the automaker.
[Last modified January 3, 2008, 23:22:27]