June 2, 2015 / 4:49 PM / 4 years ago

May auto sales hit monthly sales record in Canada

TORONTO/VANCOUVER (Reuters) - New car and truck sales in Canada hit a record high in May, with Chrysler leading the pack as the top-selling carmaker for the month and bolstered by strong demand for luxury vehicles, according to data released on Tuesday.

Fiat Chrysler's Dodge minivans move down the final production line at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Auto sales were up 1.1 percent, with 197,937 cars and light trucks sold in Canada, industry data showed. Year-to-date, sales were up 3 percent at 755,582 units.

“The Canadian new vehicle market remains to be on track for the best selling year ever as the industry reported the highest monthly sales in history last month,” DesRosiers Automotive Consultants wrote in a note to clients.

The automotive market research firm also noted the “luxury vehicle market continues to gain momentum,” citing double-digit percentage gains for Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Land Rover, Infiniti, BMW and Lexus.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCHA.MI) Canadian sales edged up by 119 vehicles from a year earlier to 31,617 cars and trucks in May, as a rise in Jeep and passenger car sales helped offset lower minivan sales.

The company’s Windsor, Ontario, van plant was shut for retooling from Feb. 16 to May 25, reducing supplies of some of the Canadian unit’s top-selling vehicles. Sales of the Grand Caravan slid 45 percent in May to 3,285 vehicles.

Ford’s Canadian sales dropped 8.5 percent from a year earlier, to 29,052 cars and trucks, as car sales fell 7.1 percent, and truck sales dropped 9 percent.

GM Canada reported the largest sales gain for May among the Detroit automakers, with 27,462 cars and trucks sold in the month, up 3.8 percent from a year ago.

In the United States, consumers bought cars and trucks at the fastest monthly pace since early 2006, with sales of pickup trucks and SUVs leading the way.

Toyota Canada (7203.T) sales dropped 1.9 percent to 20,291 vehicles, though truck sales rose 10.7 percent to 10,053 units.

Honda Canada (7267.T) sales fell 3 percent to 17,949 vehicles. The company said sales were hurt by an “extremely short supply” of its Fit subcompact.

Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Julie Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio; Editing by G Crosse and Steve Orlofsky

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