Canadian auto sales up 14.1 percent, Ford on top

Thu Apr 1, 2010 4:49pm EDT
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian auto sales rose for a fourth month in March, with Ford taking the sales crown and General Motors Co , until recently the market leader, dropping out of the top three.

Canadians bought 145,428 vehicles last month. That's up 14.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.

"A very good month even by historical standard," said Dennis DesRosiers, president of the firm.

"This puts YTD (year to date) sales up 15 percent and sets Canada on track for a 1.55 to 1.6 million sales year."

Ford sold 22,018 vehicles in March, up 29.1 percent from a year earlier. Car sales rose 19.4 percent and trucks gained 32 percent.

Ford was the only one of the Detroit-based auto companies not to go into bankruptcy protection during the recession, relying on financing it arranged before the downturn.

"The easiest thing that a manufacturer or anyone can do during a downturn is draw back in terms of your investments," Ford of Canada Chief Executive David Mondragon said in an interview. "We didn't do that, we had our resources in place to continue to invest aggressively and the benefits of those investments are coming to market today."

"If you look at our market share as a company, right now we are the number one manufacturer in Canada for the first quarter with sales up 29 percent."   Continued...