Ford top selling automaker in Canada for June despite drop in sales

TORONTO – Ford Canada was the top selling automaker in Canada last month, despite seeing a nearly nine per cent drop in sales while overall auto sales edged slightly higher compared with a year ago.

The Detroit-based automaker said Wednesday it sold 30,543 vehicles last month, down from 33,450 a year ago, but the company still outsold second-place Chrysler Canada by a wide margin.

“Coming off a 23-year sales record last June, Ford of Canada still had a very positive month closing at number one,” Ford Canada president and CEO Dianne Craig said in statement.

Overall, light vehicle sales totalled 169,459 for June according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, up 2.8 per cent from 164,796 in June 2011.

Passenger car sales were up 2.7 per cent at 78,903 from 76,830 a year ago, while light truck sales were up 2.9 per cent at 90,556 from 87,966.

The overall gains by the market came as Japanese manufacturers bounced back from the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that forced production cuts last year.

“The market share lost this year by Detroit Three brands has been transferred primarily to Japanese brands,” said analyst Dennis DesRosiers in a statement.

“Japanese manufacturers built a considerable head of steam last spring; most are maintaining that positive momentum into the summer months.”

Sales at Chrysler Canada crept up 0.5 per cent in June compared with a year ago, helped by strong sales of the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.

The automaker sold 23,705 vehicles last month, up from 23,576 in June of last year.

Chrysler Canada said the June sales results marked the company’s 31st consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth and represents the longest sales streak in the company’s history.

Meanwhile, GM Canada dropped 18 per cent, selling only 22,869 vehicles compared to 27,883 last June. The automaker announced last month that it will be closing an assembly plant in Oshawa next year.

Leading the Japanese automakers, Toyota Canada sold 16,957 vehicles in June, 70.1 per cent more than last June, while sales at Honda Canada shot up 42.6 per cent to 12,047, compared to 8,451 last June.

Nissan Canada broke it’s half-year record, selling 47,105 vehicles — 8.1 per cent more than it sold in the first half of 2011. June was the company’s second-best month on record, with 9,872 vehicles sold.

“With the imminent arrival of the all-new Nissan Altima in dealerships, followed by the all-new Sentra and Pathfinder later this year, we anticipate this success to continue,” said president Allen Childs.

DesRosiers says Korean automakers have continued to make slow but steady gains.

Kia Canada said it sold 7,782 vehicles last month, 10 per cent more than June of last year, in what the company called its best June ever for sales.

Sales at Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. edged up to 13,761 in June, a modest 2.4 per cent higher than last year. But the automaker says it broke its half-year sales record.

The company has sold 71,642 vehicles over the first half of the year. That’s 4.3 per cent higher than what it sold in the first six months of 2011.

“June was a pivotal month for Hyundai,” said president and CEO Steve Kelleher. “We extended our streak of monthly sales increases to 42, set a new record for half-year sales and launched two new members of the Elantra family.”

June was a mixed month for luxury automakers, with Mercedes-Benz Canada increasing its sales by 9.1 per cent to 3,586 while BMW went down 6.4 per cent to 3,288.