UPDATE 2-Strong truck demand offsets sliding Canadian car sales

Mon Mar 3, 2014 5:22pm EST
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* February sales climb 2.4 pct to 105,693 vehicles

* Chrysler Canada takes sales lead with 18,522 vehicles

* Truck sales climb 9.7 pct as car sales fall 7.3 pct

By Susan Taylor

TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Canadian auto sales chugged 2.4 percent higher in February as record-setting truck sales helped offset slumping demand for cars and severe winter weather, an independent auto industry analyst said on Monday.

Auto sales in the country climbed to 105,693 vehicles, marking the third-best February since 2007 and signaling a "steady as she goes" sector recovery, said Dennis DesRosiers, of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Truck sales accelerated to 64,579 vehicles in February, from 58,867 last year, while car sales fell to 41,114 vehicles, from 44,359, he wrote.

"Trucks overall continued to grow their sales with a 9.7 percent increase in February. Passenger cars, on the other hand, saw a 7.3 percent decline in unit sales during the month," he wrote.

"Chrysler continued to build on its market lead, selling ... more than 2,000 units ahead of second placed Ford."   Continued...