September 4, 2019 / 9:52 PM / in 9 months

Canada auto sales rise slightly in August, ending 17-month rut

FILE PHOTO: Cars drive in heavy traffic on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Auto sales in Canada rose 0.6% in August from a year earlier, ending a seventeen month long decline, according to industry data released on Wednesday.

The country’s auto sales rose to 182,040 units in August from 180,942 units sold a year earlier, according to a report released by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, a market research firm that tracks the sector.

An 8.4% rise in the light truck segment helped offset a continued downward trend in passenger car sales, which fell 18.3%, the report said.

“Consumer confidence was lower in August than it has been, which is an important factor with respect to big ticket item purchases. However, we still have interest rates at very attractive levels to perhaps counter-balance lower consumer confidence ratings,” David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada said in a separate report.

With an estimated 27.5% jump in sales, Fiat Chrysler Canada is expected to have had the largest sales growth in August. Toyota Canada, the Canadian distributor of Toyota Motor Corp and Lexus vehicles, came third with a 10.4% rise in sales.

Though the slight rise in August sales provide some comfort, the overall market is down 4.1% year-to-date. “It is looking more and more like Canada will see a second year in declining new vehicle sales,” the DesRosiers report noted.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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