(Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s (T:) U.S. sales fell 16.5% in September hurt by lower sales of its Highlander and Tacoma sport utility vehicles, as well as declining demand for sedans such as Camry and Prius, the Japanese carmaker said on Tuesday.
The company’s sales fell to 169,656 vehicles last month, in the United States, from 203,100 vehicles a year earlier, and were the lowest since January, led by a 16.8% fall in its pickup trucks and SUV sales.
U.S. automakers are focusing on selling larger SUVs and trucks that are more profitable, in a move to counter declining sales following a long bull run.
While higher vehicle prices and rising interest rates earlier in the year kept car shoppers on the sidelines, recent reductions in interest rates are likely to boost car sales in the third quarter.
The average interest rate on a finance deal fell to 5.5% in the third quarter, more than 60 basis points lower than the first quarter, according to auto consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
In the third quarter, Toyota’s U.S. sales fell 1.2% to 627,194 vehicles.
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