Detroit's Big Three report higher February sales in Canada

Tue Mar 1, 2016 5:00pm EST
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Automakers on Tuesday mostly reported higher February sales in Canada, with some analysts rethinking earlier forecasts that Canadian demand for light vehicles and trucks would level off this year following a record breaking 2015.

"Fears of a downturn in light vehicle sales in Canada this year are not panning out. At least not yet," wrote Canadian auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers in a Tuesday note.

DesRosiers, who expects automakers to sell slightly more vehicles in Canada this year compared with 2015, said February auto sales also hit a record for the month.

Only a small number of automakers sold fewer vehicles last month compared with February 2015, with overall sales rising 9 percent, DesRosiers wrote.

Detroit's Big Three automakers said they sold more vehicles last month, compared with February 2015. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI: Quote) and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) reported their highest February sales since 2000, driven by stronger demand for SUVs and trucks.

Ford said it sold 18,403 vehicles last month, a 23 percent increase compared to February 2015, with demand rising for the Ford F-Series pickup truck.

“New vehicle sales in Canada are off to a fast start this year,” said Dianne Craig, president and chief executive of Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd, in a news release.

There was a similar trend in the U.S., where carmakers reported on Tuesday that February auto sales soared to a 15-year high for the month, in the latest sign of continued consumer confidence. Auto sales last month rose about 7 percent, helped by low gasoline prices, available and low-interest credit and higher wages.   Continued...

The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Warren Transmission Operations Plant in Warren, Michigan October 26, 2015. Photo taken October 26. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook