Canada auto sales rise 2 percent in February, driven by light trucks

FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Warren Transmission Operations Plant in Warren, Michigan October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canadian auto sales rose 2 percent in February from a year earlier, helped by strong consumer demand for light trucks, according to industry data released on Thursday.

A total of 125,530 vehicles were sold in February, with light trucks accounting for more than 70 percent of the sales, according to a report published by Global Automakers of Canada.

“Truck sales continue to comprise the vast majority of vehicles sold, and companies without a robust truck and SUV portfolio are challenged with their existing product mix,” David Adams, president of the industry body, said in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCAU.N said total sales fell 1 percent to 18,831 vehicles in the month, but was the top automaker in terms of volumes, with its Ram brand being the biggest seller.

Ford Motor Co F.N reported a fall of 2.5 percent to 18,505 vehicles.

General Motors Co's GM.N total vehicle sales rose 8.8 percent. The Detroit-based carmaker sold 17,981 vehicles in Canada last month, with Chevrolet accounting for nearly 61 percent of total sales.

In the United States, major automakers on Thursday reported lower new vehicle sales for February and posted a surprisingly weak pickup truck sales.

Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti and Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Maju Samuel