Canada auto sales jump in October, annual sales record in sight


TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Automakers reported a 7.4 percentsales gain in Canada last month, selling the most vehicles everfor the month of October and putting the sector on track tobreak Canada's annual auto sales record set more than a decadeago.

Canadian auto sales climbed to 145,460 in October, whilesales during the first 10 months of 2013 rose 3.8 percent to1,496,216, according to industry data released on Friday.

Ford Motor Co was the country's top-selling automakerin October and year to date. Ford and General Motors Co both gained ground in Canada, where their sales jumped 10percent. GM also outsold Chrysler in Canada last month.

The annual sales rate in October reached a "heart pounding"1.9 million, wrote independent auto industry firm DesRosiersAutomotive Consultants. The all-time Canadian auto sales recordof 1.703 million was reached in 2002.

Ford said its sales rose to 22,647 vehicles, up from 20,565in October 2012. The maker of the Ford Escape and Explorer saidit was also its best sales month in more than 15 years.

Cars sales slumped 10.2 percent to 4,428 units, while trucksales climbed 16.5 percent to 18,219. Total Canadian sales areup 3.3 percent at Ford so far this year.

GM Canada sold 20,503 vehicles last month, bolstered in partby healthy sales of GM's Cadillac and Buick vehicles. Car saleswere off 0.2 percent in October from a year earlier at 6,169units as healthy retail sales were offset by lower fleet sales.Truck sales climbed 14.9 percent to 14,334 units.

In the year to date, GM Canada sales are up 2.9 percent.

Chrysler Canada reported its best October sales level since2002 on Friday, bolstered by healthy growth in truck sales.

The maker of Ram trucks and Dodge Darts sold a total of18,131 cars and trucks, 3.6 percent more than last October's17,504. It extended its streak of year-over-year gains to 47months.

Car sales fell 5.5 percent to 2,546 vehicles in October froma year ago, while truck sales rose 5.2 percent to 15,585 units.

Year-to-date, Chrysler sales are up 6.3 percent.

Canadian sales for Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp climbed 2.9 percent to 17,594 cars and trucks. HondaCanada had its best October in 11 years, with salesjumping 14 percent from a year ago to 15,302 vehicles.

In the United States, the 16-day government shutdown in thefirst half of October seemed to hurt sales, as many automakersreported monthly sales on Friday that missed analysts'expectations.

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