April 2, 2019 / 3:15 PM / 3 months ago

Canada auto sales fall 2.5 percent in March

FILE PHOTO: A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sign is seen at the U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canada’s auto sales fell 2.5 percent in March from a year earlier, marking 13 straight months of declines, according to industry data released on Tuesday.

A report released by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said auto sales fell to 181,800 units in March, down from 186,447 units a year earlier.

Sales of passenger cars dropped about 10 percent, while light truck sales were marginally up 0.6 percent.

In January, Canada’s economy grew by 0.3 percent, as the country’s construction and manufacturing sectors picked up.

According to the report, Ford Motor Co’s Canada division posted total March sales of 27,915 units, up 7.2 percent from a year earlier, while rival General Motors Co’s sales plunged 18.4 percent in the country.

Separately, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported an 11 percent fall in total March sales in Canada.

The company, which is among the top four carmakers in the country, sold 21,684 vehicles in March, with its Alfa Brand reporting a 56 percent drop in sales. Fiat Chrysler’s sales in the United States dropped 7.3 percent, hit by a decline in sales across all of its major brands, except RAM trucks.

In the U.S., automakers reported weak sales for March and the first quarter, citing a rough start to the year. But the companies said a robust economy as well as strong labor market should encourage consumers to buy more vehicles in the coming months of this year.

The story refiles to drop extraneous word in first paragraph

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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