In the face of the sluggish U.S. economy, Ford (F) said Monday it grew its domestic sales by nearly 9% in September amid demand for the No. 2 U.S. auto maker's SUVs and trucks.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based auto maker said its total U.S. sales increased 8.9% last month to 175,199 units. Ford-brand sales leaped 14.4% to 168,181, while its struggling Lincoln unit suffered a 6.6% decline to 7,018 vehicles.

Ford’s growth was highlighted by a 41% jump in Escape sales and a 204% surge in Explorer sales.

The company also sold 15% more trucks, including its best month of F-Series sales of the year at 54,410 units sold.

SUV sales climbed 35%, posting their best month at Ford since 2004. Ford’s hot-selling Escape vehicle has set internal monthly sales records seven out of nine months and is up 32% to 187,850 year-to-date.

"Ford continues to deliver strong sales results in a dynamic marketplace with a broad portfolio of fuel-efficient, high-quality products," Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing sales and service, said in a statement. "This is further proof that Ford is offering the vehicles – with the fuel economy and technologies – that people truly want and value."  

A rally in Ford’s stock lost some momentum after the sales figures were released. It was recently up 0.26% to $9.69, down from its daily high of $9.92.

Rivals General Motors (GM) and Chrysler saw even more robust growth, posting September sales gains of 20% and 27%, respectively.

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