UPDATE 2-Canada auto sales set record November, Ford leads pack

TORONTO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co’s Canadian arm maintained its spot as the country’s best selling brand, data released on Tuesday showed, as growing demand for trucks helped power a sixth consecutive monthly record for Canadian vehicle sales in November.

Canadian auto sales climbed 6.5 percent to 133,860 vehicles in November from the same period last year, with year-to-date sales up 4 percent at 1.63 million units, wrote independent auto industry firm DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Truck sales in Canada soared 8.8 percent higher to 76,949 vehicles, with passenger car sales up a healthy 3.5 percent to 56,911 units, lifted by a rebounding auto sector.

Ford led Canadian sales, with 19,668 vehicles, but its 1.1 percent growth rate was eclipsed by Chrysler Canada, where sales climbed nearly 13 percent year-over-year in November, outpacing all of its Detroit-based competitors.

Sales of Ford’s passenger cars rose 6.1 percent to 4,717, while truck sales declined 0.3 percent to 14,951.

Ford also leads Canada in year-to-date sales, with 267,427 cars and trucks, up 3.2 percent from the same period last year.

Chrysler Canada “was on a tear in November,” DesRosiers Automotive wrote, reporting a 12.9 percent jump in November sales, lifted in part by strong sales of both its 2013 and 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

It sold 19,206 cars and trucks, compared with 17,013 last November, and extended its year-over-year sales growth to 48 months.

Car sales rose 9 percent to 3,053 last month, while truck sales climbed 13.7 percent to 16,153.

Overall vehicle sales for Chrysler Canada are up 6.8 percent so far this year with 244,570 units sold, and are already ahead of full year 2012 figures, Chrysler said.

General Motors Canada reported a small sales gain of 0.6 percent, and said it sold 17,482 vehicles in November. The Oshawa-heaquartered company said that data reflects one less day of sales than in the same period last year.

“Demand continues to build for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars and trucks, including the all-new GMC Sierra,” said John Roth, vice president of sales at General Motors of Canada.

Car sales climbed 3.1 percent to 5,114 units, while 12,368, or 0.3 percent fewer, trucks were sold.

Overall sales are up 2.7 percent this year, with consumers purchasing 217,908 GM cars and trucks.

A number of Japanese brands posted particularly strong November numbers, DesRosiers Automotive wrote, with Subaru vehicle sales up 22 percent, Nissan sales 19.9 percent higher, and Mitsubishi numbers up 16.1 percent.

Korean brands continued a difficult year, the report noted, with monthly sales at Kia down 3.7 percent and Hyundai down 1 percent.

In the United States, major auto makers posted their best sales in six and a half years, as aggressive discounting and the continued popularity of big pickup trucks helped propel November vehicle sales well past expectations.