|DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. posted a 33 percent rise in December sales to assure its first annual gain in U.S. market share in more than a decade.
Sales of 183,701 Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo light vehicles last month brought the automaker’s decline for the year down to 16 percent in a market that through November was down 24 percent.
The advance will end a slide that began after 1998, when Ford controlled 25.7 percent of the U.S. market. Through November last year, Ford held 15.9 percent after falling to 15.1percent in 2008.
December’s 33 percent gain was the biggest on a percentage basis for Ford since a 39.8 percent advance in October 2001, when the industry piled on incentives after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The results from Ford, the first automaker to report year-end sales, provide another sign that the industry is on the mend. A year ago, as industry sales plunged to 27-year lows, Ford posted a 34 percent decline in December volume.
Before the release of today’s results, analysts projected that U.S. auto sales would end the year on a slight upswing