Top U.S. automakers reported another month of rises in sales of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks on Thursday as American consumers continued to shun sedans and hatchbacks.
The No. 2 U.S. producer, Ford Motor Co., reported a 6.7-per-cent rise in SUV sales to 67,554 units in October, while smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV saw overall sales rise 16 per cent on higher demand for its Jeep and Ram vehicles.
U.S. car sales, which dropped 2 per cent last year from a record high of 17.55 million in 2016, are expected to fall further in 2018, hurt by rising interest rates and the return of more late-model used cars to dealer lots.
But automakers have benefited from a shift by U.S. consumers away from traditional passenger cars toward larger, more comfortable SUVs and trucks, which tend to be more profitable for producers.
Sport-utility vehicles contributed about 35 per cent of Ford’s total U.S. sales volumes in October, up from 31.6 per cent a year ago.
Ford, which is also gradually phasing out production of most passenger cars in the United States, said total sales fell 3.9 per cent to 192,616 vehicles, hurt by lower passenger car demand.
Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan separately said its U.S. sales rose about 1.4 per cent to 191,102 units, due to increased demand for its Highlander and Tacoma SUVs.