September 3, 2014 / 3:48 PM / 3 years ago

Canadian August auto sales set all-time record

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian auto sales raced to an all-time record in August as consumers in the country’s most populous province rushed back into the market, helping fuel a 7.9 percent jump in new vehicle sales, an independent industry analyst said on Wednesday.

A partially assembled Chrysler minivan works its way down the assembly line during the production launch of the new 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan's and Chrysler Town & Country minivans at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Strong demand in Ontario and parts of western Canada drove industry sales of 171,560 new vehicles in the month of August, up from 159,004 a year ago, said Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

A 14 percent jump in truck sales offset essentially flat car sales.

Canada’s “hot” auto market has set five monthly sales records this year, DesRosiers said in a report, with year-to-date sales up a “spectacular” 4.6 percent at 1,256,649 vehicles.

In the United States, August sales were the highest for that month in more than a decade, helped by heavy discounting from manufacturers and a strong Labor Day weekend close, as the industry sold at an annualized pace not seen since early 2006.

U.S. August sales rose 5.4 percent from a year ago to 1,583,476 vehicles, according to a Reuters analysis.

Canada’s top seller in August was Ford Motor Co of Canada Ltd (F.N) which maintained leadership for a fifth consecutive month.

Total sales rose 2.6 percent to 27,988 vehicles. Truck sales climbed 10.4 percent, to 22,539 vehicles, offsetting a 20.5 percent drop in car sales, to 5,449 vehicles.

“We look forward to continued momentum in the fall,” said Ford Canada Chief Executive Officer Dianne Craig in a statement.

Chrysler Canada said it posted a 22 percent jump in sales, to 26,825 cars and trucks, marking its biggest August sales ever and best year-to-date sales on record.

Truck sales rose 33.3 percent, to 24,302 vehicles, while car sales dropped 31.8 percent to 2,523, said Chrysler, a unit of Fiat SpA FIA.MI. Year-to-date, sales are up 7 percent.

Strong sales of core brands put the company “on pace to have the best year in our 89-year history,” said Chrysler Canada Chief Operating Officer David Buckingham in a statement.

General Motors of Canada Ltd (GM.N) reported a 4.8 percent August sales increase, to 22,111 vehicles. Truck sales grew 7.3 percent to 16,089 vehicles, but car sales dipped 1.1 percent to 6,022 vehicles.

Honda Canada (7267.T) reported a 44 percent jump in August sales of its Honda and Acura brands to 13,663 vehicles.

Honda unit sales rose 50 percent to 12,081 vehicles, while Acura sales grew 9 percent, to 1,582 vehicles.

Toyota Canada Inc (7203.T) said monthly sales rose 4.8 percent to 18,487 vehicles, lifted by a 9.2 percent increase in truck sales to 8,978 vehicles, an all-time August record.

Editing by Franklin Paul, Matthew Lewis and Nick Zieminski

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