With just three selling weeks left in 2001, automakers are duking it out for covetedbragging rights that can burnish their images well into the future, according to a Detroit News
story by Mark Truby.The Honda Accord is poised to wrest the best-selling car title from the Toyota Camry. Japan's Toyota is positioned to pass Dodge to become America's third most popular car brand behind Ford and Chevrolet. And foreign brands Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are all within striking distance of being the top-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.In Detroit, the showdown to watch is a gloves-off brawl between Ford Motor Co. and GeneralMotors Corp. over supremacy in truck sales, particularly that most American of vehicles -- full-size pickups. GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra combined held a narrow 14,000-unit lead over Ford's juggernaut F-series pickup through November.If GM can maintain the edge, it would be the first time since 1994 it has outsold Ford in this crucial segment.Ford, however, is not about to go down without a fight. In November, the company began sweetening the pot for dealers who can move F-series pickups out the door in big numbers. Under a so-called "stair-step" program, dealers reap larger cash paybacks the more trucks they sell.Stay tuned; this could be a photo finish, folks!