08/01/2012 10:23 EDT | Updated 10/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Ford's US sales fell 4 per cent in July as pickups see no traction

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co.'s sales fell 4 per cent in July as it lost ground it gained last year when its Japanese rivals had low inventories.

Ford's bestseller, the F-Series pickup, was flat compared with last July. Sales of the Escape small SUV fell 12 per cent after the latest version was recalled for safety issues.

Ford's best performer in July was the Fusion sedan, which saw sales climb 21 per cent. The Ford Explorer SUV was up 15 per cent.

But those increases couldn't make up for big declines elsewhere. The Fiesta subcompact was down 23 per cent and sales of Ford's Lincoln luxury brand fell 11 per cent.

Ford said it was hurt because it decreased sales to government and rental fleets in July. Fleet sales were down 16 per cent.