Associated Press
February 3, 2009

Ford Motor Co. (F) (F) says its U.S. sales fell 40 percent in January, starting 2009 at an abysmal pace for the automaker and the industry.

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Ford says it sold 93,060 light vehicles in the U.S. last month, compared with 155,832 in January 2008. Light vehicle sales exclude heavy trucks.

Other automakers report their sales later Tuesday.

Chrysler LLC sales chief Steven Landry said earlier Tuesday that he expects sales industrywide to drop as much as 35 percent from a year earlier. Landry said the annualized sales rate for the month could drop below 10 million for the first time in a quarter century, led by a large drop in fleet sales.

Ford says low-profit fleet sales of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands, mainly to rental car companies, declined 65 percent. But Ford says its retail sales to individuals dropped only 27 percent.

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