June 1, 2012 / 5:04 PM / 6 years ago

Ford Canada claims top spot for May vehicle sales

* Ford Canada takes top spot in sales
    * Ford, Chrysler car and truck sales climb
    * U.S. auto sales weaker than expected

    TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - New auto sales at both Ford
Motor Co of Canada and Chrysler Canada accelerated in May,
the companies said on Friday, boosted by demand for both
fuel-efficient vehicles and trucks.	
    Ford said it ranked as Canada's top auto-seller for the
month and year-to-date, as May sales jumped 27 percent higher
than the same period last year.	
    Car sales rose 30.5 percent, with increases from Ford
Fiesta, Fusion and Taurus, while truck sales jumped nearly 26
percent. Overall vehicle sales rose to 32,338 for the month,
from 25,448 in the same period last year.	
    "May was a good growth month for Ford of Canada, with strong
sales across the entire lineup of cars, utilities and trucks,"
said Ford of Canada chief executive Dianne Craig.	
    "We continue to offer our customers the power of choice,
allowing them to choose from a wide range of fuel-efficient
vehicles that meet their needs."	
    Total vehicle sales year-to-date are up 4.3 percent over the
same period in 2011, Ford said. Car sales in that period have
climbed 8.6 percent, while truck sales rose 2.9 percent.	
    Chrysler Canada, whose U.S. parent is controlled by Italy's
Fiat, said May sales increased 7 percent to 26,218 from
24,406 in the year-prior-period, lifted by record-setting
demand.	
    The company set May sales records for its Jeep Wrangler,
Dodge Journey, Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler 200 and Fiat
500. Ram truck sales set an all-time record.	
    "We have always been strong on the truck side of our
business," said Chrysler Canada Chief Operating Officer Dave
Buckingham. "But to see such strong consistent sales results
from our fuel-efficient cars demonstrates the sustainability of
our success."	
    Year-to-date, overall sales are up 8.7 percent, reflecting a
37 percent jump in car sales and 3.7 percent increase in truck
sales.	
    But not all the auto sector's news was positive on Friday,
as U.S. sales were weaker than expected, suggesting industry
demand may have slowed from the strong pace of the last four
months.
    Some industry officials said warmer weather earlier in the
year may have pulled demand forward. Falling prices for fuel may
also have reduced pressure on consumers to replace gas-guzzlers
with more efficient vehicles.	
    As well, General Motors Co said that it expects to
close one of the two lines at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly
plant by June 1, 2013.
    The consolidated assembly line, which employs about 2,000
workers, was originally expected to cease production in 2008, GM
said in November 2005. But production was extended due to market
demand for the Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Equinox crossover,
GM said.	
    "It is too early to predict accurately the job impacts
related to these scheduling actions which will unfold over the
next year as some employees may elect to retire and others will
be on indefinite layoff," General Motors of Canada
communications director Faye Roberts said in an email to
Reuters.

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