UPDATE 2-Canada auto sales hit July record; Chrysler, Ford gain on trucks

Fri Aug 1, 2014 5:29pm EDT

(Adds GM numbers, industry analyst's comment)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Aug 1 (Reuters) - Auto sales in Canada in July rose to a record high for the month, up 11.3 percent from a year earlier, an industry analyst said on Friday, with strong truck sales pushing both Chrysler and Ford Motor Co to record performances.

Overall, automakers sold 176,995 vehicles in July, Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, said in a report. Meanwhile, Scotiabank analyst Carlos Gomes wrote in a note that sales are set to hit a record of 1.77 million vehicles this year.

Gomes said volumes are being lifted by "the best vehicle affordability in decades, low interest rates and improving consumer confidence, especially in Western Canada, where the labor market is healthiest."

General Motors Co said its July sales jumped 25 percent from a year earlier to 23,973 vehicles. Both car and truck sales gained in what the company said was its best July in Canada since 1986.

Chrysler Canada sold 28,007 cars and trucks last month, up from 26,209 a year earlier, with its Ram and Jeep brands setting July records, the company said.

A jump in truck sales, up 11.8 percent, offset a 19.6 percent drop in car sales in July, Chrysler said.

Chrysler Canada said it was having its strongest year-to-date showing ever, with overall sales up 6 percent so far in 2014.

Ford Motor Co's Canadian unit said its new-vehicle sales also hit July records, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

Its line of trucks - led by the popular F-series - notched a 26.2 percent gain, while its car sales slipped 15.9 percent.

Overall, it sold 28,923 vehicles in July, up from 25,188 a year earlier. That made it the best-selling brand for July, while Chrysler held on to top spot year-to-date.

Fiat shareholders approved the Italian carmaker's merger with U.S. unit Chrysler on Friday, paving the way for a U.S. listing.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Andrew Hay and Peter Galloway)

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