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TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Automakers reported a 7.4 percent sales gain in Canada last month, selling the most vehicles ever for the month of October and putting the sector on track to break Canada's annual auto sales record set more than a decade ago.
Canadian auto sales climbed to 145,460 in October, while sales during the first 10 months of 2013 rose 3.8 percent to 1,496,216, according to industry data released on Friday.
Ford Motor Co was the country's top-selling automaker in October and year to date. Ford and General Motors Co both gained ground in Canada, where their sales jumped 10 percent. GM also outsold Chrysler in Canada last month.
The annual sales rate in October reached a "heart pounding" 1.9 million, wrote independent auto industry firm DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. The all-time Canadian auto sales record of 1.703 million was reached in 2002.
Ford said its sales rose to 22,647 vehicles, up from 20,565 in October 2012. The maker of the Ford Escape and Explorer said it was also its best sales month in more than 15 years.
Cars sales slumped 10.2 percent to 4,428 units, while truck sales climbed 16.5 percent to 18,219. Total Canadian sales are up 3.3 percent at Ford so far this year.
GM Canada sold 20,503 vehicles last month, bolstered in part by healthy sales of GM's Cadillac and Buick vehicles. Car sales were off 0.2 percent in October from a year earlier at 6,169 units as healthy retail sales were offset by lower fleet sales. Truck sales climbed 14.9 percent to 14,334 units.
In the year to date, GM Canada sales are up 2.9 percent.
Chrysler Canada reported its best October sales level since 2002 on Friday, bolstered by healthy growth in truck sales.
The maker of Ram trucks and Dodge Darts sold a total of 18,131 cars and trucks, 3.6 percent more than last October's 17,504. It extended its streak of year-over-year gains to 47 months.
Car sales fell 5.5 percent to 2,546 vehicles in October from a year ago, while truck sales rose 5.2 percent to 15,585 units.
Year-to-date, Chrysler sales are up 6.3 percent.
Canadian sales for Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp climbed 2.9 percent to 17,594 cars and trucks. Honda Canada had its best October in 11 years, with sales jumping 14 percent from a year ago to 15,302 vehicles.
In the United States, the 16-day government shutdown in the first half of October seemed to hurt sales, as many automakers reported monthly sales on Friday that missed analysts' expectations.