Ford reports strong demand for new vehicles in September

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(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co on Tuesday reported strong demand for new vehicles in the United States in September amid inflation worries but supply issues weighed on sales.

Sales in the month were slightly down due to supply shortages, a company spokesperson said, adding that there were higher-than-planned "vehicle on wheels" built but awaiting parts. Those units are being updated and shipped daily.

"Demand remains strong with new retail orders rapidly expanding," Andrew Frick, Ford vice president, said in a statement.

Ford sold 464,674 vehicles in the third quarter, up from 400,843 vehicles a year earlier.

Ford's commentary comes days after an inflation warning from the country's largest used-car retailer, CarMax Inc, which said softness in used consumer purchases spilled into last month.

Analysts are warning that red-hot demand for cars and trucks may lose steam in the coming quarters as rising interest rates discourage consumers from paying more money for vehicles.

However, inventory shortages were still at play for major automakers in the third quarter.

Peer General Motors Co reported on Monday a 24% jump in quarterly sales while Toyota Motor's U.S. sales declined 7.1% to 526,017 vehicles.

Ford, which aims to catch up with electric vehicle industry leader Tesla Inc, saw its EV sales triple in September over last year, powered by sales of pickup truck F-150 Lightning.

"F-150 Lightning remains one of Ford's fastest-turn in vehicles on dealer lots, turning in just eight days," Ford added.

This comes as Tesla said on Sunday it sold fewer-than-expected vehicles in the third quarter as deliveries lagged way behind production due to logistic hurdles.

"A shortage of truck drivers and rail capacity is presenting distribution challenges for companies across many industries," American-Italian-French automaker Stellantis NV said.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)