Ford Motor Co. posted strong November retail sales, which increased 20 percent compared with a year ago.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker estimates its retail market share has averaged 15 percent over the past three months, the highest level in five years.
Including sales to fleet customers, Ford (NYSE: F) sold 166,865 vehicles during November, according to a news release. That was an increase of 13.3 percent compared to November of 2010.
For the year, Ford has sold 1.94 million vehicles, up 11 percent from the same period a year ago.
Sales of the Escape SUV continued to boost sales. Ford sold 21,823 Escapes in November, up 46 percent from last year. Year-to-date sales of the Escape have increased 33 percent.
Ford is building the next-generation Escape at its Louisville Assembly Plant, following a $600 million investment in plant improvements. The company also is hiring 1,800 new employees to produce the vehicle.
Sales of F-Series trucks, which include the Super Duty models built at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, were up 24 percent in January. F-Series sales have increased 9 percent for the year-to-date period.
Ford plans to build 675,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012, or 18,000 more than it build during the first quarter this year. Ford’s production for the fourth quarter of 2011 will be 674,000, or 14,000 more than was forecast.
“The industry sales rate has exceeded 13 million in each of the last three months,” Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in the release.