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Maintaining its 2012 record, Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) expects to retain the tag of the best-selling vehicle brand in U.S. in 2013 as well. The company sold over 2.4 million vehicles this year, although the sales figures for December are not final yet.

Ford sold 396,041 vehicles more than Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report) in the first nine months of 2013. The automaker expects its lead over Toyota to increase significantly after including the December sales figures. Ford beat Toyota’s sales by 329,677 vehicles in 2012.

While Ford brand’s retail sales increased 15% year over year in the first nine months of 2013, its total sales rose 12%.

The Western and Southeastern regions of U.S. contributed most to Ford’s escalated retail sales. While the retail sales in Western U.S. increased 23% year over year, in the Southeast it hiked 18%.

Ford expects retail sales in 2013 to exceed 1.7 million units. This will be the highest in the last six years. Meanwhile, retail sales of passenger cars are likely to cross 0.6 million units, the highest since 2000.

Ford Fiesta and Fusion are estimated to set sales records in 2013 with sales figures going over 70,000 and 290,000 units, respectively.

The sales of utility vehicles of Ford are projected at 621,652 units, up 10.3% year over year, and the highest since 2004. These figures will make Ford the best-selling utility brand for the third consecutive year.

Meanwhile, the sales of Ford’s hybrid vehicles are expected to triple over the 2012 figures and exceed 80,000 units due to the Ford C-MAX hybrid lineup. This is the highest annual hybrid sales for the company.

Additionally, the Ford F-Series pickup truck line, which had sales of 688,810 units in the first nine months of 2013, is projected to be the best-selling truck in the U.S. for the 37th consecutive year. It also is also poised to be the best-selling vehicle in the nation for the 32nd year, driven by recovery in the U.S. economy and improved housing construction.

The strong sales of Ford are expected to continue in 2014 with almost 16 launches planned. The automaker currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked automobile stocks include Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC - Analyst Report) and Tata Motors Ltd (TTM - Snapshot Report). Both these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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