(Adds sales data from Ford, GM, Toyota)
TORONTO May 1 Automakers reported solid
Canadian vehicle sales in April, with a 4 percent overall gain
on a year ago, as demand for truck and luxury brands buoyed the
Light trucks sales again overpowered passenger car
purchases, even as gasoline prices continued to rise. Hybrid
vehicles, which typically use both a traditional internal
combustion engine and an electric motor, also sold well.
Chrysler Canada said on Thursday that its total vehicle
sales climbed 6 percent in April, as a surge truck sales more
than offset slumping car purchases, and it claimed the country's
spot for top seller in 2014.
But rival Ford's Canadian unit took the lead in
monthly sales, breaking records for its Escape and Explorer
models and several hybrid vehicles.
Ford said it sold 27,342 vehicles in April, a 2 percent
decline from a year ago, as it bucked the industry trend with
declining truck sales.
Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said
total vehicle sales climbed to 27,212 vehicles. Truck sales rose
22 percent to 24,229 vehicles, while auto sales tumbled 49
percent to 2,983 vehicles.
"This month's results marked the best April sales on record
at Chrysler Canada in the last quarter of a century," Chief
Operating Officer Dave Buckingham said in a statement. "Leading
the pack are our Jeep and Ram products."
General Motors dealers in Canada came in third,
selling 25,435 vehicles in the month, with strong gains for its
The Chrysler gains, which represent a 53rd consecutive month
of year-over-year growth, include monthly sales records for
Chrysler's Jeep and Ram branded vehicles, including Jeep
Wrangler and Ram trucks, the company said.
Dodge and Chrysler minivans, produced in Windsor, Ontario,
had a double-digit April sales increase for a combined 5,988
So far this year, Chrysler Canada has sold 88,081 vehicles
on a strong showing for its trucks.
Toyota Canada sold 20,663 vehicles, a 2.9 percent increase,
to take fourth place on the back of strong truck sale growth.
Among luxury brands, Infiniti sales jumped almost 40
percent, Land Rover gained more than 26 percent, and
Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Porsche all grew around 15 percent.
The U.S. auto industry rebounded sharply in April from a
bitter and extended winter, with four of the top six automakers
reporting year-over-year gains in sales on Thursday.
Chrysler Group LLC, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co
all topped analysts' expectations with double-digit sales
increases. General Motors Co also beat expectations, with a 7
percent uptick. Ford Motor Co missed estimates, with a decline
of 1.0 percent.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Susan Taylor; Editing by
Leslie Adler, Bernard Orr)