Toyota zooms past Ford to No. 2 spot in U.S. sales

The Japanese automaker's sales rose in 2007 while Ford and No. 1 GM lost market share.

Associated Press
Published January 4, 2008

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.