The country’s No. 2 producer, Ford Motor Co, reported a 6.7 percent rise in SUV sales to 67,554 units in October, while smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV saw overall sales rise 16 percent on higher demand for its Jeep and Ram vehicles..
U.S. car sales, which dropped 2 percent 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 been helped by a shift by U.S. consumers away from traditional passenger cars towards larger, more comfortable SUVs and trucks, which tend to be more profitable for producers.
Sport utility vehicles contributed about 35 percent of Ford’s total U.S. sales volumes in October, up from 31.6 percent 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 percent to 192,616 vehicles, hurt by lower passenger car demand.
Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp separately said its U.S. sales rose about 1.4 percent to 191,102 units, due to increased demand for Highlander and Tacoma SUVs.