In Canada, trucks offset sliding cars

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TORONTO (Reuters) -- Record-setting truck sales in Canada helped offset weaker demand for cars in February, automakers said today, as Chrysler Canada reported a 10 percent jump in monthly sales.

Canadian auto sales nudged just 0.3 percent higher as severe winter weather took a toll. Total sales rose to 95,639 vehicles, with truck demand increasing 4.7 percent and passenger car volume falling 5.9 percent.

Chrysler Canada, a unit of Fiat S.p.A., said sales climbed to 18,522 vehicles from 16,832 in the same period last year, marking its fifty-first consecutive month of year-over-year growth.

Truck sales soared 16.5 percent to 16,352 vehicles, with record volumes for the Ram pickup, Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler Town & Country van, the company said, while car sales slumped 22 percent to 2,170 vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada said sales slipped 0.4 percent in February to 16,234 vehicles from 16,301 in the same period last year. Truck sales grew 4.3 percent to 13,094 vehicles, driven by an 8 percent jump in F-series sales, but car sales tumbled 16.1 percent to 3,140 vehicles in February.

Toyota Canada Inc. said monthly sales rose 1.5 percent, to 10,942 vehicles, with year-to-date sales up 5.8 percent over the same period in 2013.

Toyota-branded vehicle sales edged up 0.5 percent, to 9,763, buoyed by a second straight month of record truck sales, the company said.

Sales of Lexus-branded vehicles rose 20 percent, to a new February record of 980, while Scion-branded sales fell 19 percent, to 199 for the month.

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