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Detroit's Car Sales Sink

Updated from 1:29 p.m. EST

Detroit's automakers continued to struggle in November, according to sales reports released Thursday.

The world's largest automaker, General Motors (GM), said its U.S. sales fell 11% for the month compared with a year ago. The company recently announced an expansion of its restructuring plan that will result in it cutting about 30,000 jobs.

Despite that, GM raised its production plans for North America in the first quarter of 2006, aiming to produce 1.25 million vehicles, up 6% from the year-ago period.

Ford (F) said its U.S. sales dropped 15% last month compared with November 2004. Car sales were down 7%, while truck sales declined 18%.

Demand for the company's sport utility vehicles continued to founder, Ford reported, but it saw positive signs developing in the market for the future and pointed to the fact that last month's sales crept up 1% from October.

"Recent economic data and higher November auto sales are encouraging," Ford said in a press release. "It suggests we're moving beyond the payback period following last summer's record sales. We expect December sales will show further improvement."

Ford also said it was cutting its fourth-quarter production plans by 2.5%, or 20,000 vehicles. It plans to manufacture 885,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2006, down from 910,000 in the year-ago period.

Chrysler, the U.S. unit of Daimler Chrysler (DCX), posted a 2.7% drop in November sales. The company's Mercedes-Benz USA division recorded a 2.9% decline in sales.

Meanwhile, Japanese competitor Toyota (TM) extended its market share gains with a 5.6% sales increase for the month.

The November sales results are based on 25 selling days in 2005 and 24 days for the 2004 period.

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