Ford Motor Co on Friday posted a 31.6 percent decline in U.S. sales for April as the economic downturn continued to pressure the industry.

Ford sales fell to 134,401 vehicles in April including all of its brands, from 196,385 vehicles a year earlier. For just the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands, sales fell 31.4 percent to 129,898 vehicles in the month from a year earlier.

Ford, which posted a smaller than expected loss of $1.43 billion in the first quarter, is the only U.S. automaker not operating with emergency U.S. government loans. It expects to have gained U.S. retail market share for the sixth time in seven months in April despite the overall sales decline.

Among its Ford, Mercury and Lincoln brands, car sales fell 28.8 percent, crossover sales fell 15.1 percent, sport-utility vehicle sales fell 60.9 percent, and truck and van sales fell 35.8 percent.

The automaker is restructuring its operations and said in April that it has been in discussions with potential buyers for its Swedish luxury brand Volvo. Volvo sales for the month fell 36.9 percent to 4,503 vehicles.

We continue to operate in a very challenging economic and competitive environment, Ford vice president of sales and marketing Ken Czubay said in a statement.

Czubay said Ford was encouraged by its sales of mid-size sedans. Fusion sales rose 21.7 percent to 18,321 for the month, the only vehicle model that showed an increase among the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.

The sales release did not address Chrysler's bankruptcy filing on Thursday or the restructuring efforts of rival General Motors Corp , which faces a government-imposed June 1 deadline to rework its turnaround plan.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)