published Friday, August 31st, 2012

Ford on track to beat Toyota with best-selling car

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    The 2012 Ford Focus combines fuel economy with comfort and performance.

RAYONG, Thailand - Ford Motor Co. says its Focus small car is on track to become the best-selling car in the world this year, trumping the Toyota Corolla.

Ford sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks worldwide in the first half of 2012. That was almost 27,000 more than the perennial best-seller, the Toyota Corolla.

Ford made the announcement at its assembly plant in Rayong, which opened in May to build the Focus. The Thailand plant, which is one of Ford's most advanced, has the capacity to produce 150,000 cars per year for sale in Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and other countries in the region.

Ford's recently revamped Focus is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. It's a strong seller in the U.S., where Focus sales were up 31 percent in the first half of the year compared with 2011. But the Corolla is still king in the U.S., where it outsold the Focus by nearly 27,500 in the first half of the year.

The Corolla could still top the Focus worldwide, too. Last year at this time the Focus was ahead of the Corolla, but the Corolla pulled through in the end, outselling the Focus by around 100,000 vehicles, according to IHS Global Insight, an industry consulting firm.

At the plant Friday, Ford executives were also celebrating the production of the 350 millionth vehicle Ford has made since its founding 109 years ago.

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