DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said U.S. sales of the Ford brand topped 2 million units this year for the first time since 2007, implying a 15 percent share in the second biggest auto market in the world.
The Ford division -- helped by new models such as the Fiesta and revamped Explorer SUV -- is also the first brand to top annual sales of 2 million units since 2007, when the U.S. economy entered a recession. The figures include sales of heavy-duty trucks, Ford said.
The Ford brand passed the 2-million mark on Wednesday this week, said Erich Merkle, Ford's U.S. sales analyst.
The automaker sold slightly more than 1.9 million vehicles in 2010 in the United States.
Ford's U.S. light vehicle sales -- including Ford, Lincoln and the discontinued Mercury brand -- have climbed 9 percent this year through November to 1.93 million.
At the Ford division, year-to-date light vehicle sales are up 18 percent to 1.86 million through November. Lincoln sales are off 1 percent at 77,240 units.
Ford said its small car sales are on pace to post an increase of more than 20 percent this year, while demand for utility vehicles is tracking at a 30 percent gain.
The company's sales received a boost from vehicles such as the Fiesta, which debuted in June 2010 and has more than tripled this year through last month, and the Explorer, which has more than doubled.
"The industry sales rate has exceeded 13 million in each of the last three months," Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, said in a statement. "This suggests the current momentum is not an aberration."
With gasoline prices higher than last year, customers continue to move toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, Ford said.
U.S. auto sales in December are expected to top 13 million units on an annualized rate, J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive said. Sales of light vehicles in the U.S. market are up 10 percent to 11.54 million units through November.
Through November, the Ford brand was followed in total U.S. light vehicle sales by GM's Chevrolet brand at 1.61 million units, Toyota Motor Corp.'s Toyota brand at 1.25 million and Honda Motor Co.'s Honda brand at 931,000.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report