Ford Motor Company total vehicle sales in the US fell 1.9% during May, with an SUV plummet of 21% pulling some otherwise positive sales figures downwards.

Ford Fusion sales increased 18% to 14,940, compared to April and combined sales for the company's new mid-size sedans, including Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln Zephyr, were at 20,267.

"The Fusion, Milan and Zephyr give our dealers a great opportunity to compete for customers looking for affordable cars with distinctive styling and outstanding fuel economy," said Al Giombetti, president, Ford and Lincoln Mercury marketing and sales.

Indeed, May car sales jumped 6.4% compared with a year ago.

But, with SUVs, like Ford Explorer and Expedition, plummeting compared to a year ago, and truck sales declining 6.6%, the overall picture was a negative one, despite crossover utilities (CUVs) jumping 12% compared to the same period last year.

"We've seen an industry-wide decline in traditional sport utility vehicles," said Giombetti, "and higher gas prices accelerated this decline. Several years ago, we predicted CUVs would grow and SUVs would decline and we incorporated this assumption in our product and capacity plans. With our new cars, CUVs and hybrids, we've never been in a better position to compete for customers in an environment of rising gas prices."

Ford plans to produce 710,000 vehicles (250,000 cars and 460,000 trucks) in the third quarter 2006, having made 728,000 vehicles (210,000 cars and 518,000 trucks) in Q3 last year. This plan is equal to the company's previously-announced production plan.