Nissan's car sales soar in comparison with Ford and Toyota

Mixed U.S. sales of fuel-efficient models reported in spite of consumer malaise over high gas prices and the weak economy.

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. both reported flat sales for the month.

Ford's November results ended a yearlong string of year-over-year losses as it cut back on low-profit sales to rental car companies. Ford said its car sales fell 2 percent but truck sales rose 2 percent, largely on the strength of the Ford Escape small sport utility vehicle and Ford Edge crossover. Sales of the newly redesigned Ford Focus jumped 18 percent. Ford's sales declined 12 percent for the first 11 months of the year.

Toyota continued its drive to overtake Ford this year as the No. 2 automaker by U.S. sales, outselling Ford by nearly 15,000 vehicles. Toyota's sales were flat for the month compared with last November, with a 4 percent increase in car sales - including a 109 percent jump for the hybrid Prius - offset by a 5 percent drop in sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Toyota's sales increased 4 percent for the year.

Nissan Motor Co. said its sales were up 6 percent over last November, largely on the strength of the new Rogue crossover and the Versa subcompact, which saw sales surge 67 percent. Nissan's car sales increased 11 percent, but truck sales were flat. Nissan's sales rose 6 percent for the January-November period.

Other automakers were to release their results later Monday.

The Associated Press reports unadjusted figures, calculating the percentage change in the total number of vehicles sold in one month compared with the same month a year earlier. Some automakers report percentages adjusted for sales days. There were 25 sales days last month and 25 in November 2006.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova