Auto sales finish up two per cent

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Though still lower than what many predict the market can tolerate, Canadian new-car sales finished strongly in 2011, up roughly two per cent over last year’s tally.

According to figures from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc., more than 1.59 million vehicles were sold in 2011, up from the 1.56 million units last year. Despite being behind the 1.64 million units sold before the recession, the totals are encouraging amid economic issues in Europe and slowed North American growth.

Ford claimed the national sales title for the second straight year over provincial rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Propelled by the F-Series, which remained Canada’s top-selling pickup truck for its 46 consecutive year, total sales for the Blue Oval were up three per cent to 275,978 from 267,974.

Ford car sales were up 14 per cent, driven by the Ford Fiesta and the launch of the new 2012 Ford Focus.

Chrysler Canada also finished 2011 on a high note with a 12.7-per cent jump in combined sales for the year.

“For the second year in a row, Chrysler Canada was the No. 1 market share gainer in the country,'' president and CEO Reid Bigland said in a release.

Chrysler sold 14,628 vehicles in December, up from 14,407 in December 2010.

Continuing a small slide was General Motors Canada, which finished down 1.7 per cent on the year.
 
On the import side, Europeans continued to gain ground while some Japanese automakers stumbled.

“Rarely have all European brands seen an increase in sales in any calendar year,” DesRosiers wrote in his sales analysis. “Just like how the 1990's were the decade for the Japanese and how the first decade of this century belonged to the Koreans, three years in, this decade is shaping up to be for the European brands.”

Year-to-date winners included:

Volkswagen: Up 16-per cent
BMW: Up 10.2 per cent
Porsche: Up 8.7 per cent,
Volvo: Up four per cent
Mercedes-Benz: Up four per cent
Jaguar: Up 2.8 per cent.
Nissan: Up 3.9 per cent
Kia: Up 20.9 per cent
Hyundai: Up 9.1 per cent
Mitsubishi: Up 3.8 per cent
Audi: Up 17 per cent

Year-to-date totals on the decline:

Toyota: Down 5.6 per cent
Honda: Down 12 per cent
Mazda: Down 12 per cent
General Motors: Down 1.6 per cent
Suzuki: Down 38 per cent