UPDATE 2-Canada auto sales highest in decade, Ford still tops

Fri Jan 3, 2014 5:50pm EST
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* Truck sales bolster overall sales in 2013

* Honda Civic again most popular car, Ford's F150 truck top vehicle

* Luxury brands also show strength

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Canadians bought more vehicles in 2013 than in any year since 2002, as consumers brushed off high debt and a slow economic recovery to buy trucks and luxury models, though icy weather limited December purchases, numbers released on Friday showed.

Industry-wide sales grew 3.8 percent to 113,036 vehicles in December, bringing total sales for the year to 1.74 million, a 4 percent increase, according to independent auto industry firm DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, which collates manufacturer data.

Truck sales jumped 6.9 percent while passenger car sales were almost flat for the year, with the discrepancy even wider in December with truck sales up 14.4 percent and car sales shrinking by 9.7 percent.

Ford Motor Co's Canadian arm sold fewer vehicles in December than a year earlier but held its position as the country's best-selling automaker in 2013 as truck sales helped it notch overall growth of 2.7 percent, the company said.

Chrysler claimed second place, with a 4.7 percent jump in December sales and 6.6 percent growth for the year, helped by record sales of its Ram trucks.   Continued...