August 4, 2009 / 9:06 PM / 9 years ago

Canada auto sales weaken in July, but Ford shines

* Canada auto sales drop 6.4 percent

* Ford bucks trend with 47 percent increase

TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) of Canada was the country’s top-selling automaker for a second month in a row in July, when sales jumped more than 47 percent from a year earlier even as its main rivals recorded another month of declines.

Ford, the only Detroit auto company not supported by emergency government funding, sold 26,788 vehicles in Canada in July, up 47.4 percent from 18,171 in July 2008, but down slightly from sales in June 2009, the company said on Tuesday in a statement.

The result, driven by a 60 percent jump in sales of trucks such as the F-Series pickup and Escape SUV, means Ford Canada’s year-to-date sales are now 2.3 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Overall, auto sales in Canada fell by 6.4 percent in July to 139,900 units, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. The result marked the ninth straight month of year-over-year sales declines, but it was the third-strongest month of 2009 so far, and slightly ahead of June sales.

In comparison, U.S. auto sales jumped to the highest level of 2009 during the month, as Americans rushed to take advantage of the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.

The Canadian arm of General Motors [GM.UL] sold 19,663 cars and trucks, down 41.9 percent from the year before and down 12 percent from June. Car sales fell 37.2 percent year-on-year, while truck deliveries dropped 46.2 percent.

GM emerged from bankruptcy last month after selling its best assets to a “new GM” led by the U.S. Treasury and partly owned by the Canadian and Ontario governments.

The sales drop at other manufacturers was less pronounced than at GM, and partly offset by luxury auto sales, which strengthened.

Toyota Canada Inc (7203.T) sales skidded 12.5 percent to 19,232 from July 2008. The Japan-based automaker’s Toyota division recorded a 14.2 percent sales drop, while the luxury Lexus brand improved by 13.9 percent.

Honda Motor Co Canada (7267.T) sold 12,984 units in July, a 19 percent drop from last year, and weighed by a 22 percent drop in the Honda auto division. The Acura division saw sales rise 7 percent year-on-year.

The Canadian arm of Chrysler, which exited bankruptcy in June and sold its best assets to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA FIA.MI, said its sales dropped 10.4 percent year-on-year to 15,958 units in July.

Despite the year-on-year decline, the result marked the troubled automaker’s best sales month of 2009, the company said. It was also a 73 percent increase from June, when much of the automaker’s production was suspended.

Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Frank McGurty

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