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US car sales down nearly 10% YOY in Q3 as SUVs, trucks continue to gain

Most automakers reported mixed new vehicle sales in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2019 as SUVs and trucks continued to fare better than cars.

An S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis found that overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period totaled 4.31 million units, up 0.7% from the 2018 figure of 4.28 million units.

Passenger car sales in the U.S. dropped 9.9% during the period to 1.16 million units, compared to 1.29 million units in the third quarter of 2018. Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the quarter rose 5.3% to 3.15 million units, versus 2.99 million units a year ago.

U.S. sales at General Motors Co., the largest Detroit-based carmaker, increased 6.3% year over year to 738,638 units during the quarter. Sales of the GMC brand, which includes trucks and SUVs, rose 11.4% year over year to 140,789 vehicles delivered in the quarter.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV posted slight growth in new vehicle sales to 565,034 units.

Sales of the company's Jeep brand fell 2% to 245,474 units, compared to 251,172 units in the third quarter of 2018. Sales of the company's Ram brand rose 15% to 179,200 units.

"Lower interest rates, a stable economy and consumer enthusiasm bolster our belief that new vehicle sales in the U.S. are heading for a strong finish," Reid Bigland, Fiat Chrysler's head of U.S. sales, said in a statement

At U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co., sales dropped 4.9% year over year. The company sold 580,251 units during the period. Car sales dropped 29.5% year over year during the quarter, while SUV sales decreased by 10.5%. The company recorded an 8.8% increase in truck sales.

In the third quarter, Ford sold 214,176 of its F-Series trucks, a 6% drop year over year but still more than any other single brand of vehicle sold in the U.S.

Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup took second with 161,635 units sold, a 13.8% increase over the previous year.

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