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US auto sales down 9% in Q3 as coronavirus continues to curb demand

U.S. auto sales fell more than 9% year over year in the third quarter of 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as sales of SUVs and trucks continued to fare better than cars, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Overall, nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the third quarter declined 9.2% to 3.9 million vehicles from 4.3 million vehicles in the year-ago period. Sales, however, improved from the 33.3% decline in the second quarter.

Passenger car sales in the U.S. totaled 904,864 units, down 21.7% from 1.16 million in the third quarter of 2019. Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the quarter fell 4.7% to 3 million units, versus 3.15 million units a year ago.

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Among automakers, Detroit-based General Motors Co. posted a 9.9% decline in sales to 665,192 vehicles for the quarter. The company's Cadillac brand registered the biggest year-on-year decline in sales at 17.5% with 32,965 vehicles sold.

Sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV declined 10.2% to 507,351 vehicles. During the third quarter, all Fiat Chrysler brands' sales were down except for Chrysler and Alfa Romeo.

Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. saw sales drop 4.9% from a year earlier to 551,796 vehicles. The company's Fiesta brand recorded sales of 135 vehicles during the quarter, a 99.1% year-on-year drop.

Ford's F-Series outsold all other brands of vehicles in the U.S. during the third quarter as its sales rose 3.5% from a year earlier to 221,647. Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup registered the second-highest sales even as its sales dropped 3.4% year over year to 156,157 units.

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