U.S. customers purchased or leased 311,084 cars and trucks from Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo, and Land Rover dealers in August, down 15% compared with a year ago. Last August, the company set a sales record for the month. Sales of passenger cars were 99,669 (down 28%) and sales of trucks (pickups, sport utility vehicles, and vans) were 211,415 (down 7%).Year-to-date, the company's sales were 2.36 million, down 5% compared with the same period a year ago. Sales of trucks were 1.5 million,down 1%, and car sales were 826,772, down 12%. Ford's F-Series, America's best-selling truck for 26 years in a row, posted sales of 73,698, down 6% from last August's record sales of 78,566, and the third highest August sales in F-Series' 55-year history. In the first eight months of 2003, F-Series sales totaled 545,582."The all-new F-150 has started to arrive at Ford dealer showrooms," said Jim O'Connor, Ford group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "New advertising debuts (Thursday) -- the start of F-150 Kickoff Weekend -- and Ford dealers across the nation have planned special events for their customers to check out the next generation of the best-selling vehicle in America. It's been a long time since a new product introduction created this much anticipation in the industry."