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shares were rising Monday as the company said its year-over-year sales increased 2% in July, the automaker's first monthly gain since November 2007.

Ford attributed the gain to demand for its fuel-efficient vehicles coupled with the impact of the Cash for Clunkers program.

"We had another strong month in progress before the Cash for Clunkers program started," said Ken Czubay, vice president for marketing and sales, in a prepared statement.

Total sales in July, including fleet, were 158,838, up 2% from the same month a year earlier. Retail sales rose 9% to 118,197.

Sales of the Ford Escape, up 94%, Mercury Mariner, up 71%, Ford Fusion, up 66%, Ford Ranger, up 65%, and Mercury Milan, up 60%, helped boost the automaker's numbers. Ford hybrid sales rose 323% to total 5,353.

The company said two new products, the 2010 Ford Taurus and the Transit Connect, were first delivered at the end of July. The Connect, a small, fuel-efficient van, is the first One Ford global vehicle to be sold in the U.S.

Ford shares recently were trading up 6.2% to $8.50.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.