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May 27, 2017

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GM, Ford see slower truck sales as Japan's Toyota gains

DETROIT -- General Motors Co, the largest U.S. automaker, posted a small gain in September U.S. sales as demand for passenger cars offset a drop in pickup trucks, while Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp reported a large sales increase.

The annual auto sales pace in September was on track to hit 14.6 million vehicles, J.P. Morgan said. That is slightly higher than the 14.5 million estimate from GM and analysts.

GM sold 210,245 cars and trucks last month, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. That represents a slowdown from GM's 3.4 percent growth during the first nine months of this year.

Ford sold 174,976 cars and trucks last month, on par with its results from a year ago as retail sales to consumers rose 4 percent. The No. 2 U.S. automaker's sales increased 5.4 percent during the first nine months of the year.

Ford shares were down 1.7 percent at US$9.76 and GM shares were up 2.5 percent at US$23.67 around midday on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Toyota said vehicle sales rose 41.5 percent to 171,190 last month, besting its 32 percent in gains year-to-date. The results reflect Toyota's recovery from inventory shortages last year after the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.

Chrysler Group LLC, the smallest U.S. automaker, showed a 12 percent jump in sales to 142,041. Volkswagen of America, the U.S. arm of Volkswagen AG, said sales rose 34.4 percent.

Chrysler, majority-owned by Italy's Fiat SpA, projected that the sales rate would be 14.9 million for last month, including medium and heavy trucks.

Typically, medium and heavy trucks add around 300,000 vehicles to the sales rate, suggesting a 14.6 million pace for light vehicles for September.

Fiat brand sales totaled 4,176, the highest monthly mark ever in the United States, Chrysler said.

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