Canada auto sales highest in decade, Ford still tops

Fri Jan 3, 2014 5:51pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadians bought more vehicles in 2013 than in any year since 2002, as consumers brushed off high debt and a slow economic recovery to buy trucks and luxury models, though icy weather limited December purchases, numbers released on Friday showed.

Industry-wide sales grew 3.8 percent to 113,036 vehicles in December, bringing total sales for the year to 1.74 million, a 4 percent increase, according to independent auto industry firm DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, which collates manufacturer data.

Truck sales jumped 6.9 percent while passenger car sales were almost flat for the year, with the discrepancy even wider in December with truck sales up 14.4 percent and car sales shrinking by 9.7 percent.

Ford Motor Co's (F.N: Quote) Canadian arm sold fewer vehicles in December than a year earlier but held its position as the country's best-selling automaker in 2013 as truck sales helped it notch overall growth of 2.7 percent, the company said.

Chrysler claimed second place, with a 4.7 percent jump in December sales and 6.6 percent growth for the year, helped by record sales of its Ram trucks.

"Overall 2013 goes down as the year of the truck," DesRosiers wrote. "The F150 alone outsells other full-line nameplates including Kia, Mazda and Nissan."

General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) meanwhile posted the biggest gain in December sales, up 17 percent, while taking third place for the year on 4 percent growth. Its Cadillac brand notched 44.6 percent annual sales gains for its best-ever Canadian sales.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) said its luxury Lexus brand had a marquee year that helped the company notch 1.7 percent annual growth and cemented its fourth-place position.   Continued...

The Ford logo is pictured on the rooftop of Austria's Ford head branch in Vienna March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader