2013 Escape photo courtesy of Ford.

2013 Escape photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford Motor Co. expects to sell more than 2.4 million Ford branded vehicles in 2013 in retail and fleet channels, leading the way for the fourth consecutive year.

The automaker is reporting a 15% increase in retail sales compared to 2012, when it outsold Toyota by 329,677 vehicles in the U.S. Through November, Ford held a lead over Toyota of 396,041 vehicles sold during the calendar year, according to Ford.

Ford expects retail sales to surpass 1.7 million vehicles and fleet sales to surpass 710,000.

Ford expects strong sales growth in cars, trucks, utility vehicles and hybrids. Retail sales rose 23% in the West region and 18% in the Southeast region.

"The great news is that we are not overly reliant on any one segment," said John Felice, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. "We're seeing double-digit sales growth in cars, trucks and utilities."

Ford is seeing growth across various segments. Ford expects to sell more than 70,000 Fiesta subcompact cars and 290,000 Fusion full-size sedans. Fiesta sales will reach a new high-water mark.

Ford expects to lead utility sales with a 10.3% increase from 2012 to 621,652 vehicles. The Ford Escape is leading the increase with a projected 300,000 vehicles sold. 2013 will be a peak year for the Escape, which was introduced in 1999. Ford Explorer sales are up 15% over 2012.

Ford's hybrid sales are also a notable story of 2013, as the automaker expects to exceep 80,000 hybrid sales, nearly triple the number of hybrids sold a year ago.

As expected, the F-Series truck should be the best-selling vehicle of the year with 688,810 sales through November.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet