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Ford U.S. Sales Up 5 Percent From Last Month, 65 Percent From Last March

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This March 29, 2011 file photo shows a row of 2011 Ford F-150 trucks at a dealership in Gilbert, Ariz. Ford U.S. sales rose 5 percent in March, 2012 thanks to strong sales of the Ford Focus. (AP Photo/Matt York, File) | AP

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. says its U.S. sales rose 5 percent in March on strong demand for the Focus small car.

Ford says it was the company's best March sales performance since before the recession in 2007.

Focus sales were up 65 percent compared to last March, as customers sought out smaller cars with better fuel economy. Sales of the Fusion midsize sedan were up 4 percent, but sales of the subcompact Fiesta fell 34 percent compared to strong sales last March.

Ford says sales of the F-Series pickup, which is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., rose 9 percent. Truck sales are up as small businesses and construction crews continue to grow more confident about the economic recovery.

Other companies are expected to post similar results later Tuesday.

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