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Auto sales jump 9% in Canada

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TORONTO -- Canadians shopping for a new truck helped drive auto sales up nearly nine per cent last month, sales figures compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants show.

Sales of light vehicles in Canada totalled 171,807 for April, up 8.9 per cent from 157,777 a year ago, breaking a four-month streak of lower year-over-year sales.

The bulk of the gain came from a 16.3 per cent increase in light truck sales that totalled 94,701 for the month, up from 81,409 in April 2012.

"The Canadian light-vehicle market surged forward last month, thawing out after a slow winter," DesRosiers said in an analysis that pointed out the year-to-date sales are ahead of 2012 for the first time.

The firm noted the big U.S. and Japanese brands enjoyed sales growth last month, while the Korean automakers and some prominent luxury brands failed to capitalize on the strong market.

"Both Korean brands have now lost roughly half a point of market share apiece on a year-to-date basis, bleeding some of the gains won from Japanese manufacturers over the last five years," DesRosiers said.

Sales of its F-Series pickup trucks helped Ford Motor Co. of Canada claim the top spot for the month and the year-to date.

Ford says it sold 27,907 vehicles last month, up from 24,171 a year ago.

The gain came as the company's overall truck sales gained 21 per cent to total 20,809, up from 17,267 from a year ago, and sales of its F-Series truck shot up 38 per cent. Ford car sales were up three per cent from a year ago.

"We're pleased to see long-term growth across varied markets, from the Fusion to the F-150, which has resulted in sales leadership year-to-date through April," Ford Canada president Dianne Craig said.

Meanwhile, Chrysler Canada reported sales of 25,745, up from 24,540 in April 2012, also helped by truck sales.

Chrysler said overall truck sales increased 3.2 per cent to 19,865 vehicles.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2013 A16

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