* Chrysler Canada car sales surge 43 pct in April
* Ford Canada sales fall 5.4 pct, but car sales up 5 pct
May 1 (Reuters) - High gas prices again pushed Canadians to seek out fuel-efficient cars in April, allowing Chrysler to continue its strong sales performance this year.
Chrysler Canada said its sales rose 3 percent to 24,540 in April, its 29th consecutive month of sales increases, helped by a 43 percent surge in car sales to 5,283. Sales of trucks, heavier users of gas, increased 3.7 percent to 19,257.
“Our highly fuel-efficient new product is definitely giving our sales results a shot of adrenalin. After four months, we are off to the best start we have had in a decade,” said Dave Buckingham, chief operating officer at Chrysler Canada.
Chrysler’s sales are benefiting from the launch of smaller, European-styled cars designed by Fiat SpA, its owner. It said it has sold more vehicles than any other company in Canada so far this year.
“With gas prices hitting record highs last month, we saw an increasing number of Canadian consumers choosing cars,” said Dianne Craig, chief executive of Ford Motor Co’s Canadian division.
Ford Canada vehicle sales fell 5.4 percent in April but car sales were 5.1 percent higher at 6,904. Truck sales slid 9 percent to 17,267.
In the United States, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co both reported a smaller-than-expected decline in new vehicle sales in April. GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, raised its full-year forecast for the industry due to a strengthening economy.