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Ford keeps top sales spot in Canada

TORONTO (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. of Canada said today that it was the country's top seller of new vehicles in the month of August, as sturdy truck demand helped it maintain leadership for a fifth consecutive month.

Ford said August sales rose 2.6 percent to 27,988 vehicles, from 27,268 in the same period last year. Truck sales climbed 10.4 percent, to 22,539 vehicles, offsetting a 20.5 percent drop in car sales, to 5,449 vehicles.

"We look forward to continued momentum in the fall," Ford Canada CEO Dianne Craig said in a statement.

Chrysler Canada said it posted a 22 percent jump in August sales, to 26,825 cars and trucks, from 21,932 last year, marking its biggest August sales ever and best year-to-date sales on record.

Truck sales rose 33.3 percent, to 24,302 vehicles, while car sales dropped 31.8 percent to 2,523, Chrysler said. Year-to-date sales are up 7 percent.

Strong sales for such core brands as Dodge Grand Caravan, Jeep and Ram put the company "on pace to have the best year in our 89-year history," Chrysler Canada COO David Buckingham said in a statement.

General Motors Canada said its August sales rose 5 percent to 22,111 vehicles, led by a 1 percent gain in Chevy truck sales and the best August for Buick since 2005. Cadillac sales have risen 18 percent year-to-date and Escalade SUV sales were up 47 percent in August, GM said.

Honda Canada reported a 44 percent jump in August sales of its Honda and Acura brands, to 13,663 vehicles.

Honda unit sales rose 50 percent, to 12,081 vehicles, led by an 88 percent jump for the Honda Civic, 60 percent increase for the Odyssey and 35 percent gain for the CRV. Acura sales grew 9 percent in August, to 1,582 vehicles, Honda Canada said.

Toyota Canada Inc. said monthly sales rose 4.8 percent to 18,487 vehicles, lifted by a 9.2 percent increase in truck sales to 8,978 vehicles, an all-time August record.

Canadian growth mirrored a strong U.S. performance, with the industry selling at an annualized pace not seen since early 2006. The unexpectedly strong U.S. sales were, in part, due to heavy discounting by manufacturers. 

The annualized U.S. sales rate for August was 17.53 million, the highest since January of 2006, according to the Automotive News data center.

Automotive News contributed to this report.

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