UPDATE 2-Ford keeps top spot in Canada car sales

Thu Jan 3, 2013 4:06pm EST
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* Chrysler passes General Motors, moves into second place

* Chrysler Canada says 2012 its best sales year since 2000

* Japanese automakers show strong Canadian sales in 2012

Jan 3 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co of Canada was the top-selling automaker in Canada for the third year in a row in 2012 but Chrysler, boosted by demand for its fuel-efficient passenger cars, knocked General Motors from the No. 2 perch.

Ford said on Thursday it sold 276,068 vehicles in Canada last year, just 90 more than it sold in 2011. Its popular line-up of F-Series trucks made up more than 100,000 of the sales, and remained the best-selling vehicle in Canada for the third consecutive year.

Chrysler Canada said its vehicle sales rose 6 percent to 243,845, making it No. 2 in Canadian sales last year, up from third place in 2011.

President and Chief Executive Reid Bigland said Chrysler Canada, had its best retail sales results last year since 2000.

"Our investment in fuel-efficient new vehicles and power trains has propelled us to be the number two seller," 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...