DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said December sales rose 7.5% and forecast record global automotive sales in the current year. For December, sales totaled 190,976. The results include a 40% reduction in deliveries to rental car companies as well as a 17% retail sales increase, leading to the highest retail sales for any month since August 2009, despite a 29% decrease in Mercury retail sales. Ford Fusion sales totaled a record 22,629, while utility vehicles and truck sales both rose by 11%.
For the full year, sales totaled 1.935 million, up 19%. Ford estimated its U.S. market share at 16.4%, up 1.1 points from 2009 and 2.2% from 2008, marking the first time since 1993 that Ford increased market share in two successive months. Looking ahead, Ford said it expects the U.S. economy to expand by 3% to 4% in 2011, leading to industry sales of 12.5 to 13.5 million vehicles. Ford also expects the global economy to expand by 3% to 4% in 2011, leading to record global sales of 77 to 85 million vehicles, despite a mixed outlook in Europe. Ford expects 2010 global sales to total 72 million, up 11% from 65 million in 2009. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. >to contact the writer of this article, click here: