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Ford gains U.S. market share as fast as in '77
The last time Ford was gaining U.S. market share as fast as it is now, Mark Fields, the company's president of the Americas, was learning to drive.

Fields, 49, said Tuesday that the company's market share rose 2.7 percentage points from January through March, Ford's sharpest increase in a three-month period since the fourth quarter of 1977.

Back then, the Ford Grenada was popular and the company had just launched a redesigned Ford Thunderbird. For the family, Ford offered the Ford LTD II and the wood-paneled Ford Country Squire.

Now, the Ford Fusion midsize sedan and the company's F-Series pickups are top sellers.

Ford is gaining ground because it invested heavily in product development even when its finances were strained, said Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst for IHS Global Insight.

"They are seeing the rewards of those good decisions," Lindland said.

In addition, Toyota stumbled in the first quarter with recalls, and halted sales of eight models in late January and early February.

Through March, Ford's share of U.S. sales was 17.4%, putting it behind only General Motors' 18.7%. Detroit Free Press

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