By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Falling gas prices and consumer confidence in an improving economy are fueling robust growth in the US auto sector, with an overall 6.1 % increase in October sales.

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General Motors sales were flat for the month. Significantly, its Chevrolet Silverado pick-up saw a 10% increase while full-sized GM SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon Denali are returning healthy profits as the company continues to struggle with many sedans and small cars impacted by the ignition switch recall.

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Ford saw a 1.8% decline as the impending launch of the highly acclaimed all-aluminum F-150 pick-up undercut overall brand sales. At the same time, Ford’s struggling Lincoln luxury line got a sales boost being attributed to comedian Jim Carrey’s Saturday Night Live spoof of the Lincoln MKC TV spot featuring a brooding Matthew McConaughey.

Chrysler posted a 21.7% increase as its Jeep and Ram pick-up lines continue a sales rampage.

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Honda was up 5.8% on sales of its highly acclaimed CRV small SUV with a new updated suspension and steering technology, and the super-hot new Honda FIT sub-compact.