Canadian auto sales may be record high in 2013 - industry

Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:04pm EST
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* Post recession demand, higher employment to boost sales

* 2013 Canadian sales could top record set in 2002

* GM expects company growth to exceed market projections

* Honda hopes to sell 150,000 autos in 2013

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Canadian vehicle sales could reach an all-time high this year, topping the near-record 1.7 million vehicles the industry sold in 2012, automotive executives said on Thursday.

Pent-up demand from the recent recession, rising employment and a wave of new models are driving sales for the Canadian units of the Detroit Three as well as other foreign-based automakers, analysts have said.

"The Canadian industry is a very mature market, but I think we believe it will top 1.7 million for the next two to three years," Dave Gardner, vice president of sales and marketing at Honda, told Reuters at Canadian International Auto Show. "That's a pretty robust market."

General Motors of Canada, a subsidiary of General Motors Co , forecast industry growth of 2 to 3 percent, while Chrysler, a unit of Fiat SpA's Chrysler LLC, expects growth to be "plus or minus 2 to 3 percent" for the full year.   Continued...