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Ford and Chrysler manage gains as other automakers post September losses

DETROIT (AP) - Analysts say the sales declines being reported in September by some major automakers today don't reflect a trend. And they're predicting a strong finish to the year for the auto industry.

GM posted an 11 percent decline compared with a year ago, as the company reported falling sales of its redesigned full-size pickup trucks. Volkswagen and Toyota also reported declines.

But analysts blame it on a quirk in the calendar. Labor Day weekend is typically strong for U.S. auto sales, and this year was no exception. But because the holiday came early, the auto industry counted all of that weekend's sales in its August totals, rather than in September.

Even with the unusual calendar, Ford and Chrysler are reporting sales gains for September. Ford sales were up 6 percent, while sales at Chrysler rose 1 percent.

Auto sales have been posting monthly increases for more than two years.

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