UPDATE 2-Canada auto sales hit records for June and first half

Wed Jul 2, 2014 5:23pm EDT

(Adds General Motors, Honda and Toyota sales, analyst's comment)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, July 2 (Reuters) - Automakers sold a record number of cars and trucks in Canada in June with Ford Motor Co selling the most in the month and Fiat Chrysler leading in sales over the first half of the year, industry data showed on Wednesday.

Automakers sold 908,094 vehicles in Canada in the first six months, a 2.8 percent increase over a year earlier and "the earliest date on record for sales to hit the 900K mark," Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said in a report.

For June, Ford Canada said overall sales rose 7.4 percent. It sold 30,852 vehicles, and it said there was a surge in sales for its Flex and Escape models. Truck sales rose 10.4 percent, while car sales dipped 1 percent.

For the first half of 2014, Ford's overall sales were down 2.4 percent.

Chrysler Canada sold 27,013 cars and trucks in June, a 3 percent rise from a year earlier, with its Jeep and Fiat brands setting June records. Strong truck sales, up 10.9 percent, offset a steep 26.9 percent drop in car sales in June.

Chrysler Canada said it had its strongest showing year-to-date since 1988, with overall sales up 5.3 percent.

Sales at General Motors Co, which has been plagued by damaging publicity surrounding an ongoing investigation into faulty ignition switches and by a flood of recalls, slumped last month.

GM sold 21,007 vehicles in June, a decline of 15 percent. Car sales fell 12.1 percent, while truck sales tumbled 16.1 percent. Overall sales were down 2.3 percent so far this year.

In contrast, GM's U.S. sales rose 1 percent in June, beating analysts' expectations for a 6 percent decline.

Automakers reported their U.S. sales on Tuesday and they showed the best annualized figures in eight years, touching levels not seen since before the financial crisis.

In Canada, Toyota Motor Corp sold 17,208 vehicles in June for an increase of 0.9 percent. Sales of its Lexus brand jumped 18.3 percent to 1,521.

Honda Motor Co Ltd sold 14,727 vehicles, a 9.8 percent rise. Sales of its Acura brand, however, fell 6.2 percent to 1,458.

Sales of Nissan Motor Co vehicles jumped 27.3 percent last month to hit a record for June. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway and Grant McCool)

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