Canada sales up 1.7

TORONTO - Buoyed by rich incentives on domestics and imports alike, new-vehicle sales in Canada rose 1.7 percent last month to 128,515 units. Car sales surged 6 percent from a year earlier, while light-truck sales dipped 3.4 percent.

The July gain kept the market on a near-record pace. At just over 923,000, sales for the year to date are off only 0.6 percent from last year's record pace.

Supported by incentives that included 0.0 percent financing on some models, Ford Motor Co. was alone among the Big 3 in posting higher sales in July. Its sales were up 1.2 percent from a year earlier as cars rose 5.7 percent and trucks dipped 1.1 percent. For the year to date, though, Ford is off 13.1 percent.

Stung by a 14.1 percent slide in truck sales, General Motors was off 10.3 percent for the month. Car sales were off 7.1 percent. Despite the July hit, GM is off only 4.1 percent for the year to date.

Chrysler group sales were off 3.3 percent as cars slid 7.4 percent and trucks fell by 1.8 percent. Chrysler now is off 10.3 percent for the year.

Import brands continued strong in July, with only Daewoo, Land Rover and Porsche down for the month.

The Korean makes' combined market share has risen to 5.4 percent for the year to date from 3 percent in the same period a year earlier. Hyundai is up 55 percent from a year earlier, while Kia is up 155 percent.

In contrast, Daewoo sales are off 64 percent from a year earlier.

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