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Truck, luxury car demand drive record June sales in Canada

07/02/2015 | 05:23pm US/Eastern
A General Motors dealership sign is seen in Montreal

A healthy appetite for trucks and luxury cars pushed auto sales in Canada to a record high for June, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles the top seller, according to data released on Thursday.

Overall sales nudged 1.2 percent higher to 177,857 cars and light trucks, making it the strongest June on record. Year-to-date sales were up 2.7 percent at 933,439 vehicles.

"Ongoing gains being enjoyed by the luxury manufacturers in the Canadian market turned into a veritable feast in June," DesRosiers Automotive Consultants wrote in a note to clients.

A handful of luxury brands exceeded gains of 25 percent, the automotive research firm said. Land Rover and Acura sales both rose 28 percent, with Porsche sales 26 percent higher.

The strongest-performing full-line manufacturers included a 15 percent jump for General Motors (>> General Motors Company) to 24,226 vehicles, a 10 percent lift at Nissan (>> Nissan Motor Co Ltd) to 11,623 vehicles, and a 10.5 percent gain at Toyota (>> Toyota Motor Corp) to 20,689 vehicles.

GM and Toyota recorded big increases in pickup-truck sales, while Fiat Chrysler's Dodge and Chrysler minivan sales rose 14 percent.

Pickup and car sales fell at Ford (>> Ford Motor Company), for a 13 percent overall decline to 26,784 vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler said its Canadian sales notched a 1 percent rise to 27,217 vehicles, 6,186 of them minivans.

The company's Windsor, Ontario, van plant reopened in late May after a retooling. Its three-month closure had reduced supplies of some of the Canadian unit's top-selling vehicles.

Ram brand truck sales climbed 13 percent to 9,081, while Chrysler truck sales popped 164 percent higher to 1,863, offsetting an 8 percent drop in Dodge truck sales to 6,580 vehicles.

GM Canada said it had a 15 percent increase in June sales with gains across its Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands.

Total sales for Cadillac and Chevrolet brands rose 13 percent, while GMC sales increased 18 percent and Buick sales jumped 29 percent, the company said.

Toyota's Canadian sales rose to 20,689 vehicles as trucks climbed 19 percent to a record 10,750. Toyota said overall sales for the first half of the year were up 4.3 percent from the year-before period to 104,977 vehicles.

In the United States, June auto sales rose to about 1.47 million vehicles, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier, according to figures compiled by WardsAuto.

U.S. demand for sport utility vehicles and trucks helped GM and Ford offset slowing demand for sedans as it allowed them to raise truck and SUV prices.

(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Matthew Lewis; and Peter Galloway)

By Susan Taylor

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