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US truck sales up in Q3

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Ford Motor Co and on Wednesday reported higher pick-up truck sales for the third quarter in the United States. Lower interest rates helped boost demand in a market that has seen sales decline.

Ford said sales of its pick-up trucks rose 5% to 240,387 vehicles, its best third-quarter performance in 14 years. Car sales fell 4.9% to 580,251 automobiles, hurt by lower demand for its passenger cars including the Taurus sedan,  but better than analysts’ consensus estimate of a 6.1% decline.

Fiat Chrysler’s sales of its Ram pick-up trucks surged 14% to 161,635, marginally lifting overall sales by 0.1% to 565,034 cars.

The company’s Jeep Wrangler brand reported third-quarter sales of 59,035, a record for a third quarter, while its Ram truck brand saw a 15% increase to a record third-quarter 179,200 vehicles sold.

The Dodge Challenger reported its highest third-quarter sales with 18,031 vehicles sold.

Automakers in the United States are focusing on selling larger SUVs and trucks that are more profitable, as passenger cars fall out of favor.

While higher vehicle prices and rising interest rates earlier in the year kept car shoppers on the sidelines, analysts expect recent interest rate cuts to boost sales in the third quarter.

The average interest rate on a finance deal fell to 5.5% in the latest quarter, more than 60 basis points lower than the first quarter, according to auto consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.