• Kyodo

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New car sales by Toyota Motor Corp. plunged 15.8 percent in the United States in January from a year earlier to 98,796 vehicles as the carmaker was rocked by a massive recall of some of its top-selling models, a U.S. research firm said Tuesday.

U.S. rivals General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. meanwhile reported increases, Autodata Corp. said.

Toyota began recalling 2.21 million cars and trucks on Jan. 21 and suspended sales of eight popular models, including the Camry and Corolla, in the last week of January to fix faulty gas pedals. The eight models, whose production was also suspended, account for nearly 60 percent of Toyota’s total sales in the U.S.

As a result, Toyota was outsold by Ford, which saw sales in the reporting month soar 24.4 percent to 112,149 vehicles to capture second place in the U.S. market for the first time in seven months.

Toyota slipped to third, with its share falling from 18.2 percent in December to 14.1 percent, the lowest since February 2006.

Sales by market leader GM jumped 14.6 percent to 145,804 vehicles. Sales declined 8.1 percent to 57,143 vehicles at Chrysler Group LLC, Autodata said.

Combined sales by the Big Three automakers rose 12.7 percent to 315,096 vehicles.

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