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US auto sales decline 1.4% in 2019; car sales plummet as trucks, SUVs gain

U.S. auto sales declined in 2019 as major automakers posted a weak finish to the year and American consumers continued to favor trucks and SUVs over cars.

Nonseasonally adjusted passenger car sales in the U.S. for 2019 declined 10.9% to 4.7 million units, versus 5.3 million units in 2018, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the year totaled 12.2 million units, up 2.8% from the 2018 figure of 11.9 million units.

The overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period fell 1.4% to 17.0 million units, versus 17.2 million units a year ago.

Detroit-based General Motors Co. sold 2.9 million vehicles in 2019, a year-over-year decline of 2.3%. The company's sales were down 6.3% for the fourth quarter of 2019 at 735,909 vehicles. Each of the automaker's brands was down year over year in the fourth quarter.

Ford Motor Co. posted a decline in its total U.S. sales for the period. The Michigan-based automaker sold 2.4 million vehicles, down 3% from 2018.

In the fourth quarter, Ford sold 601,862 vehicles, down 1.3% year over year.

Sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV were also down both for the fourth quarter of 2019 and the full year. The Italian-American company said it sold 542,519 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down 2% year over year. Sales for full year 2019 were 2.2 million, down 1.4% from 2018.

Ford's F-Series outsold all the other brands of vehicles sold in the U.S. even as its sales declined 1.4% year over year to 896,526 units. Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup took the second place behind the F-Series, with 633,694 vehicles sold, a year-over-year increase of 18%.

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