Updated: November 1, 2013 10:36AM
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. sales rose 14 percent in October as demand for F-Series pickups continued despite the government shutdown.
F-Series sales were up 13 percent to 63,803. It was the sixth straight month that F-Series sales have topped 60,000. The last time that happened was 2006.
Fusion sedan sales jumped 71 percent over last October, when the old model was being phased out. Ford says it’s seeing strong Fusion sales on the East and West coasts.
Ford’s car sales rose 16.5 percent thanks to increases for the Fusion and Taurus. But sales of the Focus small car fell 17.5 percent while the C-Max hybrid fell 20.5 percent. Ford recently announced it will idle the Michigan plant where both vehicles are made for two weeks to cut down on inventory.
Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota all posted October sales increases as the U.S. auto industry rebounded from a lackluster September.
The gains signal that automakers made it through the 16-day partial government shutdown relatively unscathed. Chrysler even predicted stronger industry sales for the month than most analysts.
“After a choppy start to the beginning of the month, Chrysler Group sales accelerated in the second half of the month with renewed consumer confidence,” Reid Bigland, the company’s U.S. sales chief, said in a statement.
All automakers report October sales on Friday. Of the automakers reporting so far, only Volkswagen posted a decline at 18 percent. VW is up against strong growth from last year, but many of its models have faltered in 2013.
Industry analysts predict between an 8 percent and 13 percent sales gain for October, with sales running at an annual rate of about 15.4 million for the month.
Analysts say the 16-day government shutdown in early October kept buyers out of showrooms early in the month, but that apparently was just a temporary slowdown.
“It looks like the government shutdown ended just in the nick of time,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at the Edmunds.com auto website. “Consumers started to get jittery by the middle of the month. But with the government back to work, most lost sales should be made up in the latter half of the month.”
Auto sales have consistently been a bright spot in the U.S. economy. Sales are closing in on pre-recession rates exceeding 16 million, far above the 2009 trough of 10.4 million.