February 3, 2015 / 6:34 PM / in 3 years

Automakers report January sales gains in Canada

A Chrysler Group LLC employee works on the assembly line during the production launch of Chrysler vehicles at the assembly plant in Brampton January 7, 2011.Mike Cassese

TORONTO (Reuters) - The top auto companies sold more vehicles in Canada last month than a year ago, according to industry data released on Tuesday, with Chrysler Canada leading the pack as the top-selling carmaker for January.

Sales were up 3.4 percent, with 99,051 cars and trucks sold in Canada, industry data showed.

"Overall, the market exhibited some surprising resilience," DesRosiers Automotive Consultants wrote in a note to clients, but cautioned about putting too much weight on January sales figures.

"We continue to believe that the market has room to grow in Canada, although we are most definitely in a period of high uncertainty."

Chrysler Canada, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, said it sold 18,054 cars and trucks last month, 2 percent higher than a year ago, when it sold 17,698 vehicles.

Chrysler, which set January sales records for its Ram and Jeep brands, said truck sales rose 8.5 percent, while car sales fell 34.7 percent.

Ford Motor Co of Canada reported a modest 0.4 percent rise in overall sales, having delivered 14,591 cars and trucks.

Like Chrysler, Ford car sales were down sharply, off 28.5 percent, while truck sales rose 7.2 percent.

GM Canada had the biggest sales gain for January among the Detroit automakers, with 11,577 cars and trucks sold in the first month of the year, a 5.3 percent increase from the 10,991 vehicles it sold in January 2014.

Car sales climbed 4.3 percent, while truck sales rose 5.7 percent, the company said.

Toyota Canada set a January sales record, selling 11,522 vehicles and beating last year's sales by 8.1 percent. Truck sales were up 11 percent.

Luxury brands such as Lexus, Audi and Porsche saw double digit growth in January. Lexus, a unit of Toyota, saw sales surge 39.3 percent, while Audi and Porsche both reported sales growth of more than 20 percent.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Grant McCool

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