December 3, 2012 / 10:54 PM / in 6 years

Canadian auto sales reach near-record for November

TORONTO (Reuters) - Vehicle sales in Canada grew 3.8 percent last month as an industry-wide rebound and strong demand for new cars lifted sales to the second-best November on record.

Monthly sales rose to 125,730 vehicles, just shy of the 130,100 vehicle record set in November 2001, according to independent auto analyst Dennis Desrosiers.

“With a solid month expected for December, Canada still has a chance at reaching 1.7 million units (for) one of its best years ever,” Desrosiers said in a note to clients.

“We suspect that the market will come in just shy of a new record year, but 2012 will go down as the second best on record. And there is more to come over the next few years as the market is expected to continue to grow for quite some time.”

Ford Motor Co of Canada, which retained its rank as Canada’s top-selling automaker, said total vehicle sales rose 7.4 percent in November from a year earlier, as car sales jumped 14 percent and truck sales climbed 5.6 percent.

“We saw strength across the entire lineup,” Dianne Craig, chief executive of Ford Canada, said in a statement. “The Canadian auto industry has seen incredible growth in 2012 and we’re pleased that Ford of Canada has outpaced it in November.”

Ford’s new car sales climbed to 4,444 in November from 3,899 in the same period last year, while truck sales rose to 15,003 from 14,204.

Chrysler Canada said its vehicle sales rose 4.7 percent, extending its streak of year-over-year monthly sales gains to 36. It said total November sales rose to 17,013 vehicles from 16,244 in the same period last year.

Car sales jumped 47 percent to 2,802, while truck sales dipped 0.9 percent to 14,211 vehicles.

Chrysler, majority owned by Fiat SpA, said the new Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 models helped power passenger car sales.

Year-to-date sales are up 5.9 percent to 229,089 vehicles, the company said.

General Motors Co said total Canadian sales fell 3.2 percent compared with last November to 17,372 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.

“Canadians continue to embrace our smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles,” Marc Comeau, vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM Canada, said in a statement.

Toyota Canada said its total sales declined slightly to 14,512 vehicles from 14,563, but year-to-date sales were up 21 percent.

U.S. auto sales in November rose 15 percent to 1.14 million vehicles, the highest level for that month since 2007, before a recession caused a dramatic decline in demand and led to the bankruptcy filings of General Motors Co and Chrysler.

Ford, Honda and Nissan reported stronger-than-expected sales, while Chrysler, Toyota and Hyundai posted strong gains. Sales from GM lagged expectations.

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Jeffrey Benkoe and Peter Galloway

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