Ford is the bestselling auto brand in North America for the fourth year in a row. (Photo : Reuters)
Ford officials are calling it early and saying the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker is the bestselling brand in North America for the fourth year in a row.
The auto industry will officially announce the year's sales numbers later this week, but Ford has claimed victory over runner-up Toyota, NBC News reported.
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Brand representatives say that Ford saw good sales across the board as the company made strides in areas dominated by imports.
"The great news is that we are not overly reliant on any one segment--we're seeing double-digit sales growth in cars, trucks and utilities," John Felice, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a year-end statement as quoted by NBC.
"The Ford brand has had more retail share growth than any other brand in the country, with our most significant gains coming from import-dominated coastal markets. With 16 launches next year, we're looking to keep our sales momentum going."
Ford has had an excellent year despite a few glitches that included the Ford C-Max Hybrid, which didn't live up to its EPA-approved rating and needed its mileage restated, according to NBC.
Some of Ford's other green models like the Fusion Hybrid were also criticized for having lower fuel economy than expected.
The company expects to finish out 2013 with 4 million vehicles sold altogether, reporting a nearly 400,000-vehicle lead for the first 11 months of the year.
Even with the fuel economy issues, Ford's hybrid vehicle sales almost tripled to more than 80,000, NBC reported.
In spite of Ford's early declaration of victory, some brands haven't yet given up the fight for No. 1.
Honda's John Mendel, the Japanese carmaker's top executive in the United States, said, "A sale isn't always a sale."
The company contests that for the first 11 months of the year, Honda had the highest U.S. retail sales and will finish in the top spot.