May 1, 2013 / 11:49 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Canada April auto sales up 9 pct

May 1 (Reuters) - Auto sales in Canada rose 9 percent in April on strong demand for pickup trucks from U.S. automakers.

Light truck sales, which include sport utility vehicles and minivans as well as pickups, accounted for 55 percent of the Canadian auto sales in April, according to independent auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

Sales of light trucks rose 16 percent while passenger car sales rose 1 percent, DesRosiers said on Wednesday.

Collectively, Detroit automakers Ford Motor Co, Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co showed a monthly sales gain in Canada of 13 percent versus a 6 percent rise for automakers based outside North America.

For the first four months of the year, Canadian auto sales industrywide rose 1.4 percent, DesRosiers said.

Ford retained its crown as the top-seller in Canada, with an April rise of 15.5 percent from a year ago, to 27,907 vehicles.

Chrysler, majority owned by Italy’s Fiat, was second, with 25,745 vehicles, up 5 percent, barely edging out GM at 25,071 vehicles, up 19 percent.

Ford, Chrysler and GM are the top three automakers in Canada by sales.

Ford reported a gain of 38 percent for the F-Series lineup of pickups, which accounted for 43 percent of its Canadian sales.

Chrysler said sales of its Ram pickup trucks were nearly a third of its overall sales at 8,020, up 31 percent.

For General Motors, large pickup trucks gained 15 percent, and accounted for more than a third of the company’s Canadian sales.

In the U.S. market the three Detroit automakers on Wednesday each showed sales gains for April, boosted by strong pickup truck and sport-utility sales.

Sales in Canada for the three big Japanese automakers were near or above industrywide results, but South Korean and several German automakers saw a slide.

Toyota Motor Corp sales rose 7 percent to 20,089 vehicles, Honda Motor Co sales rose 20 percent to 15,343 vehicles, and Nissan Motor Co gained 17 percent to 8,078 vehicles.

Hyundai Motor Co, down 5.5 percent at 13,517 vehicles, and its corporate sister Kia Motors Corp, down 5.4 percent at 7,581 vehicles, have lost a half point of Canadian market share so far this year, DesRosiers said.

Germany’s Volkswagen AG saw an 11 percent rise to 6,248 vehicles while luxury brands BMW, up 1 percent, and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, down 14 percent, were market laggards.

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