DETROIT - Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday its U.S. sales in October rose 3 percent and it gained market share due to strong demand for cars and crossover vehicles.
Consumer demand for our new ... products is driving Ford's market share gains, Ken Czubay, Ford's U.S. sales chief, said in a statement.
At the end of October, Ford officials were unsure whether October sales would finish up or down, but several analysts had forecast a decline.
Ford was the first large automaker to report sales, which for the industry are expected to provide more evidence that the worst of the four-year downturn has passed.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd reported a 5.6 percent gain, while General Motors Co , Chrysler and others are scheduled to report sales results later on Tuesday.
Analysts and executives expect U.S. sales in October to finish above 10 million units on an annualized basis, which would mark the strongest result of the year excluding July and August when sales received a short-lived boost from the U.S. government's cash for clunkers trade-in incentives.
Ford previously said the industry would be off slightly from last year in October but up from September. The U.S. automaker's October sales were up 21 percent from September.
Strong demand for the Fusion sedan, and its new Taurus car and F-150 pickup truck helped Ford raise its share of the U.S. market to more than 15 percent, the company said.
Porsche saw U.S. sales in October rise 15 percent, while Subaru recorded a 40.7 percent gain. Volkswagen AG's Audi brand saw sales slip 1.1 percent from last year.
(Reporting by auto team in Detroit, writing by Ben Klayman in Chicago, editing by Matthew Lewis)