UPDATE 1-Canada April auto sales up 9 pct

Wed May 1, 2013 7:46pm EDT
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May 1 (Reuters) - Auto sales in Canada rose 9 percent in April on strong demand for pickup trucks from U.S. automakers.

Light truck sales, which include sport utility vehicles and minivans as well as pickups, accounted for 55 percent of the Canadian auto sales in April, according to independent auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

Sales of light trucks rose 16 percent while passenger car sales rose 1 percent, DesRosiers said on Wednesday.

Collectively, Detroit automakers Ford Motor Co, Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co showed a monthly sales gain in Canada of 13 percent versus a 6 percent rise for automakers based outside North America.

For the first four months of the year, Canadian auto sales industrywide rose 1.4 percent, DesRosiers said.

Ford retained its crown as the top-seller in Canada, with an April rise of 15.5 percent from a year ago, to 27,907 vehicles.

Chrysler, majority owned by Italy's Fiat, was second, with 25,745 vehicles, up 5 percent, barely edging out GM at 25,071 vehicles, up 19 percent.

Ford, Chrysler and GM are the top three automakers in Canada by sales.   Continued...