As Ford Motor Co. planned the unveiling of new models of its Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans, the company also prepared to celebrate a third straight year of Taurus' reign as best-selling car in the country.

At the start of December, the Taurus appeared to have a comfortable lead over the Honda Accord, which has been in second place since it was deposed by Taurus in 1992.Ford's transition to the new Taurus, which will go on sale next fall as a 1996 model, may mean Honda has the edge for next year. Taurus production is likely to be held down as factories are retooled.

The top five passenger cars in U.S. sales through November were:

Ford Taurus - 354,839.

Honda Accord - 339,929.

Ford Escort - 312,436.

Toyota Camry - 298,605.

Saturn - 266,051.

Trucks still outstrip cars at the top of sales lists. The top-selling trucks through November were:

Ford full-size pickups - 562,832.

Chevrolet full-size pickups - 496,753.

Ford Ranger - 323,140.

Ford Explorer - 261,478.

Dodge Caravan minivan - 258,039.