TORONTO - Canadian auto sales continued to accelerate in August, climbing 7.9 per cent to 171,560 with almost a dozen brands at or close to all-time sales record for the month, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.
The sales, up from 159,004 in August 2013, included light truck sales totalling 100,621, up 14.1 per cent from 88,168 a year ago, while car sales amounted to 70,939, up from 70,836 in August 2013.
"These records are rooted in the Ontario consumer coming back into the market in full force and the West holding close to last year's sales records," DesRosiers said in a report.
Year-to-date sales totalled 1,256,649, up 4.6 per cent from 1,201,664 at the same time last year.
"We expected a point or two increase this year so an increase of almost five per cent is, frankly speaking, quite spectacular," DesRosiers said.
Ford Motor Co. of Canada, with a big boost from strong truck sales, claimed the honour of the industry's top seller last month, edging about Chrysler with 27,988 cars and light trucks sold, up from 27,268 a year ago.
Ford truck sales climbed 10.4 per cent to 22,539, up from 20,412 in the same month last year, while the automaker's car sales were down 20.5 per cent at 5,449 compared with 6,856 a year ago.
Meanwhile, Chrysler said it sold 26,825 vehicles last month, up from 21,932 in the same month last year. Chrysler said the total was a record for the month and helped push year-to-date sales through August to a new high.
The increase for the month was driven by truck sales, which jumped to 24,302 from 18,233 a year ago as sales of its Jeep brand more than doubled. Chrysler car sales slipped to 2,523 from 3,699 as Dodge car sales fell to less than half of those a year ago.
So far this year, Chrysler has sold 201,424 vehicles, up from 187,375 in the first eight months of last year.
General Motors of Canada sold 22,111 vehicles in August, up 4.8 per cent from 21,091 a year ago.
GM truck sales were up 7.3 per cent at 16,089 from 15,001, while car sales totalled 6,022 compared with 6,090 a year ago.
The automaker said it will complete the launch of a complete portfolio of new trucks this fall.
"With the launch of the new Cadillac ATS Coupe and our all-new mid-size trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon later this year, we anticipate this growth will continue as we align our products to best suit the needs of our customers,â€ John Roth, GM's vice-president for sales, service and marketing.
Truck sales also helped Toyota Canada sales for the month, which climbed to 16,546, up 6.8 per cent from 15,499 a year ago. Toyota truck sales were up 10.4 per cent at 8,257 compared with 7,481 in August 2013, while Toyota car sales totalled 8,289, up from 8,018.
Sales of Toyota's luxury nameplate, Lexus, totalled 1,534, down from 1,570 a year ago, while Scion sales amounted to 407, down from 578.
Honda sales slipped 3.4 per cent to 14,063 from 14,552 a year ago, while its Acura luxury brand saw sales fall 11.8 per cent to 1,461 from 1,656.
"Our exceptional sales in June and July meant dealer inventories of key 2014 models were poor, making it impossible to match last year's strong August results," said Dave Gardner, Honda Canada's vice-president of sales and marketing.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A version that moved Wednesday included TD Bank economist's comments that applied to U.S., not Canadian, auto sales.