The Canadian vehicle market is headed for its best performance of the decade.
Led by strong gains at General Motors, industry sales rose 7.5 percent in September.
GM Canada recorded an 11.6 percent sales jump. That wasn't as big an increase as GM's 31.9 percent sales increase in August, a figure that was boosted artificially by a strike-related vehicle shortage a year ago.
However, GM's September results accounted for more than half the industry's gain for the month.
Industry sales reached 132,750 units, bringing the total for the first nine months to 1,136,130. That was up 5.7 percent over the year-ago figures. Sales this year are on track to top 1.5 million units, which would be the best year in the 1990s.
Sales of GM passenger cars rose 9.4 percent, while truck sales jumped 14 percent. Sales for the calendar year are up 8.6 percent. DaimlerChrysler reported a 3.8 percent increase for September, with truck sales up by 6.5 percent and car sales declining 2.2 percent. Vehicle sales for the first nine months of 1999 are down 2.7 percent.
The arrival of Ford's new Focus helped the company's September performance, but not enough to prevent a 15.7 percent drop. Ford's car sales slid 21.9 percent, while trucks dipped 13.2 percent. Year-to-date sales are up 2.3 percent.
All of the Japanese brands fared well in September, with Subaru recording its best month ever with sales up 34.4 percent. Nissan tallied its best September in 13 years with a 21.8 percent jump in sales. Korea's Hyundai posted an 86.8 percent sales increase, while newcomers Kia and Daewoo sold 251 and 264 units, respectively.