Trucks drive Canadian auto sales growth in October

(Reuters) - Canadian auto sales rose 6.3 percent in October, according to industry data released on Wednesday, with light trucks continuing to be the bestseller in the country.

About 164,214 vehicles were sold in the month, bringing the total to 1.76 million so far this year, a report published by Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) showed.

Sales of light truck sales, which accounted for about 70 percent of total sales, increased 13.6 percent in the month, while passenger car sales dropped nearly 8 percent.

“As Canadian vehicle sales continue to climb to record highs, much of the growth has recently shifted to leasing, prompting a moderation in auto loan growth,” Scotiabank’s auto industry specialist Carlos Gomes said.

Auto loans to more creditworthy clients continue to gain momentum, signaling an improvement in the credit profile of Canadians, Gomes said.

Auto sales typically track macro indicators such as employment and economic growth. Canada’s economy posted the fastest growth of the Group of Seven major economies in the first half of 2017.

General Motors Co’s vehicle sales in Canada rose 26.5 percent to 26,847, while rival Ford Motor Co posted a decline of 2 percent.

Demand for Chevrolet brand drove GM’s numbers, while Ford said the 21,081 automobiles sold in the month were largely F-Series trucks.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, maker of Dodge and Chrysler vehicles, said sales slumped 12 percent to 17,211, but was still the third best selling automaker.

Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Savio D’Souza