Ford Sales
Strong demand for the F-150 and other trucks lifted Ford's sales, despite the effect of increased borrowing rates. AFP

Ford reported increased US quarterly sales Wednesday, reflecting strong demand despite higher interest rates in an auto market that has yet to see significant effects from a labor strike.

The big US automaker garnered an eight percent rise in sales in the third quarter to 500,504 vehicles, pointing to substantial increases in trucks -- including for the best-selling F-150 pickup line.

"We saw strong balanced sales growth providing choice to our customers in the third quarter, with growth coming from our gas engine, electric, hybrid and commercial van lineup," said Ford vice president Andrew Frick in a news release.

The statement did not mention an ongoing labor strike targeting Ford and fellow Detroit giants General Motors and Stellantis.

Ford also saw sales gains in its electric vehicles and hybrids, which together comprised about 12 percent of total volume.

The company's good numbers come on the heels of US sales gains reported Tuesday by other leading automakers including GM and Toyota. The industry has benefited from improved vehicle inventories compared with the year-ago period, when supply chain problems limited auto availability.

The reports have defied worries over the drag from higher lending rates and broad consumer inflation.

"The pace of this year's sales recovery continues to exceed expectations," said a note from JPMorgan Chase.

"While some of the strength in September auto sales is likely attributable to a catch up in demand after poor weather conditions in multiple states in August may have shifted out some transactions, the underlying trend appears stronger also, helped by continued improvements in inventory availability."

While the United Auto Workers strike has yet to significantly affect the car market, analysts say a prolonged stoppage could cause vehicle inventories to plummet, damaging the Detroit companies' profitability and likely boosting auto prices.

Ford said its inventories at the end of September stood at 424,400, above the level at the end of 2022 but well below the pre-pandemic scale of 657,651 in December 2018.

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