Common consensus is that both the economy and the automotive industry are slowly beginning to turn around, and if Ford's performance in the first month of 2010 is any indicator, it's going to be a good year. Blue Oval sales jumped an impressive 24% over January 2009.

With the first 31 days of 2010 out of the way, Ford has moved 112,406 vehicles from its three remaining brands, up from 90,596 a year ago. The Ford brand itself was up 26% in January with 99,888 vehicles sold, followed by Lincoln, up 15.5% with 7,036 sold. Mercury rounded out the trio with 5,482 sales, up 6%. Ford estimates its market share climbed to 16% in January and fleet sales have doubled over January 2009.

Most impressively, all but four current models across all three brands posted sales gains in January, though these results were boosted by the rather dismal sales numbers of January 2009. At Ford, top sellers included the Fusion, with sales up 49% to 12,179, the Escape, with sales up 29% to 10,753 and the F-Series, which saw sales climb 9.5% to 27,630. Only the Flex lost sales, and it was only down 0.3%.

Over at Lincoln, the hot ticket was the MKX SUV, whose sales jumped 27% to make it the brand's best-seller by far with 2,198 copies sold. Lincoln's other two top sellers, the MKZ and MKS, both saw sales drop by 14% and 17% respectively. At Mercury, the Milan led the way with 1,881 sales, up 12%. Close behind were the Mariner, up 0.3% to 1,746 and the Grand Marquis, up 112% to 1,536. The Mountaineer was the lone sales loser, dropping 44%.

Source: Ford