Detroit automakers log strong sales in June

Mon Jul 4, 2011 6:09pm EDT
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Detroit-based automakers reported higher Canadian sales last month, led by Ford Motor Co of Canada, which said on Monday that demand for fuel-efficient cars helped it record its best June in 22 years.

Across the board, sales of cars and light trucks were up 6.6 percent in June from a year earlier at 164,796 units, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Sales at Ford of Canada rose 5.5 percent to 33,450 vehicles. Truck sales slipped 3.8 percent to 22,625, while car sales surged 32 percent to 10,825.

Pickup trucks have long dominated Ford sales in Canada, but the company has been placing a bigger emphasis on its new car models in recent years amid volatile gasoline prices.

"Our investment in smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles is clearly paying off as consumers continue to look for great fuel economy," said David Mondragon, chief executive of Ford's Canadian unit.

In May, overall auto sales in the country slumped nearly 4 percent, prompting warnings that a full recovery in the auto sector was still a long way off.

But Mondragon said that industry numbers were beginning to show promise and that Ford believes the summer could be a fairly strong one in terms of sales.

"In fact, the Canadian market may come in stronger for 2011 than first forecast," he said.   Continued...

<p>The Ford Flex is seen on the assembly line at the company's Oakville Plant June 3, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>