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GM Sales Sputter; Ford Ekes Out Gain

Toyota also records a sales increase for November.
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Updated from 12:40 p.m. EST

In a role reversal,

General Motors


reported an 11% plunge in November U.S. auto sales, while rival



managed to eke out a gain for the month.

GM reported Monday that it sold 261,273 light vehicles in November, down from 293,558 a year earlier. Car sales slid 4.5% to 105,077 vehicles, while light-truck sales plunged 15% to 156,196 trucks.

The sales decline was GM's first after three straight months of gains. Shares were sliding $1.03, or 3.5%, to $28.80.

Meanwhile, Ford said its U.S. sales rose 0.4% in November compared with last year, thanks to an uptick in truck sales.

For Ford, which is lagging behind GM in efforts to turn around its North American business, the increase was the automaker's first monthly sales rise in a year. But while sales grew, they fell short of those from

Toyota Motor


, which edged past Ford as the No. 2 seller in November.

Ford sold 182,951 vehicles during the month. The company reported a 1.8% increase in truck sales to 122,568 vehicles and a 2.4% decline in car sales to 60,383 vehicles.

Shares of Ford were down 20 cents, or 2.7%, to $7.31.

For its part, Toyota posted a 0.3% rise in U.S. sales to 197,189 vehicles. The company's core Toyota division saw a 1.4% increase in sales to 172,341 vehicles -- its best-ever November showing -- but sales at the Lexus segment dropped 7.8% to 14,892.

The reports come amid renewed pessimism about prospects for the U.S. auto industry. While GM, Ford and privately held Chrysler sealed new deals with the United Auto Workers union this year that are expected to make them more competitive with foreign-based competitors, the economic fallout from the housing downturn and the credit crisis is expected to weigh on their sales next year.