American consumers continue to gravitate toward buying trucks and smaller sport utility vehicles and away from passenger cars, according to industry analysts.

Mlive.com reported that the ongoing move comes as the annual rate of U.S. car sales for last month exceeded 17 million units, making August 2014 the best month stateside for the industry since July 2006.

“Trucks and large utilities remained among the top-selling segments as rising consumer confidence, steady gas prices, and rising fuel economy have allowed a growing number of consumers to jump back into these larger vehicles,” said Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

Chrysler Group LLC posted the strongest gain among the Big Three, with a 20% year-over-year rise in August to 198,379 units sold. It also marked Chrysler’s 53rd straight month of sales growth.

The increase was led by Jeep SUVs and by Ram pickup truck sales.

“Our Jeep brand continued its torrid sales pace recording its best August sales ever and our Ram Truck brand contributed with a massive 39% sales increase, both helping Chrysler Group achieve its 53rd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for the company, said in a statement.

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