TORONTO - With August sales almost a third ahead of last year, General Motors of Canada accounted for more than half of the sales increase.
Overall, industry sales rose 13.6 per-cent in an end-of-summer sales boom.
At least one manufacturer predicted that 1999 could be the hottest year of the decade.
Ford of Canada President Bobbie Gaunt said her company has raised its sales forecast. Ford now predicts industry sales could approach 1.5 mil-lion units this year. Last year, sales topped 1.4 million.
Last month, light-vehicle sales in Canada totaled 121,655 units, up from 107,070 a year ago.
GM led the way with a 31.9 percent sales improvement over the same period a year ago. GM's car sales rose 34.3 percent, while truck sales rose 29.6 percent.
'We're expecting a strong finish to 1999,' said marketing Vice President Dick Conlin.
Ford posted a strong August result with sales up 11.5 percent. Passenger-car sales increased a marginal 1.7 percent, but truck sales zoomed 15.9 percent.
DaimlerChrysler failed to keep pace, with sales slipping 1.2 percent. Car sales slid 5.8 percent, while truck sales rose 1.0 percent. It noted it had strong sales in August 1998, making last month's sales look weak in comparison.
Among Japanese makers, Toyota and Isuzu (which is sold by GM) suffered declining sales. The European marques also had a strong month; only Volvo, with sales off 36.6 percent, failed to post positive numbers.