Canada 2012 vehicle sales up 5.7 percent as Ford stays No.1

Thu Jan 3, 2013 7:34pm EST
 
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By Nicole Mordant

(Reuters) - Canadian vehicle sales rose a sturdy 5.7 percent last year to 1.68 million, their second highest level on record, lifted by demand for fuel-efficient passenger cars, stylish European imports and well-priced Korean models.

Ford Motor Co of Canada F.N was the top-selling automaker in Canada for the third year in a row while Chrysler FIA.MI, which was in third place in 2011, knocked General Motors GM.N from the No. 2 perch.

Vehicle sales are expected to continue to increase this year, nearing -- or even exceeding -- the record of 1.7 million set in 2002, on the back of pent-up demand left over from the recession and higher employment especially in Western Canada, analysts said.

"Expect another good year," said independent auto sector analyst Dennis DesRosiers, adding, however, that the softness evident in late 2012 "concerns us."

Ford said on Thursday it sold 276,068 vehicles in Canada last year, just 90 more than in 2011, including more than 100,000 F-Series trucks, which remained the best-selling vehicle in Canada for the third consecutive year.

Chrysler Canada's vehicle sales rose 6 percent to 243,845 last year, its best for retail sales results since 2000.

"Our investment in fuel-efficient new vehicles and power trains has propelled us to be the number two seller," President and Chief Executive Reid Bigland said, forecasting continued strong sales in 2013.

Dianne Craig, president and CEO at Ford of Canada, also said the company was optimistic about growth.   Continued...

 
A new 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan is driven off the final production line during a celebration ceremony for the production launch of the new 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country mnivans at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook