Ford, GM Sales Surge in January, While Toyota Tumbles

Ford Motor (F) and General Motors, the two largest U.S. auto makers, reported higher sales in January, as consumers steered cleared of the showrooms of the companies' nearest Japanese competitor, Toyota Motor (TM), which is mired in massive recalls involving millions of vehicles.

Ford reported sales surged 24.6% in January on much improved fleet sales -- up 154% -- as rental and commercial operators restocked their inventories. While showroom traffic was down 5% overall, Ford reported sales of its passengers cars including its Mustang, Taurus and Fusion models showed considerable gains, with Taurus sales shooting up 121%. In total, Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford said it sold 116,406 vehicles, up from 93,506 a year ago.