- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006

DETROIT (AP) — Chevrolet was the best-selling brand in the U.S. in 2005, outpacing Ford for the first time in 19 years. But that was where the good news ended for General Motors Corp. and other U.S. automakers, which continued to lose ground to foreign rivals.

GM’s sales fell 4 percent for the year, led by a 7 percent decline in car sales and a 2 percent decline in sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Although Chevrolet sales slipped slightly from last year to 2.6 million, they outpaced Ford by about 21,000 vehicles.

Paul Ballew, GM’s executive director of market and industry analysis, said the year-end totals were lower than the company’s expectations.

But he said the win for Chevrolet gives the struggling automaker an important boost.

Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that its sales dropped 4 percent in 2005 as consumer demand for trucks and SUVs fell in the face of high gas prices.

DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, meanwhile, said its sales rose 5 percent for the year, thanks to big-selling models such as the Chrysler 300.

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