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Ford's US sales up 7 percent in January

DETROIT - Ford (F) says that sales rose 7 percent in January on strong demand for small cars and SUVs.

Sales of the Ford Focus compact car were up 60 percent over last January, while sales of the Ford Escape small SUV were up 24 percent. Ford is replacing the Escape with a new version later this year, and sales have been strong for months as customers take advantage of deals on the outgoing model.

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Ford Motor Co. said F-Series truck sales were up 8 percent while sales of the Ford Explorer rose 36 percent.

Automakers and analysts say U.S. demand is continuing to grow at a steady pace as the economy recovers. predicts sales will be up 7 percent in January industrywide.

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