Canadian auto sales off to ‘dream start’ in 2016

DesRosiers says overall sales improved 9.3% for best March.

TORONTO — Auto sales set yet another monthly record in March as Canadians continued to buy cars and light trucks in record numbers.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says overall sales improved 9.3% last month to 175,142, which it described as “the best March on record by a significant margin.”

Growth in the sales of light trucks, which includes SUVs, minivans and pickups, more than offset a decline in car sales.

By category, passenger car sales totalled 61,729 vehicles, down 4% from 64,322 in the same month a year ago, while light truck sales rose 18.2% to 113,413 from 95,952 in March 2015.

The March figures come on the heels of record sales in February, when manufacturers reported combined sales of 119,201 cars and light trucks.

January sales of 108,553 – although shy of the record of 110,226 vehicles set in 2002 – were nonetheless up 9.6% from the same month in 2015, itself a record-breaking year and making for what DesRosiers called a “dream start” to 2016.

Ford was the top selling brand in March, with sales up 23.7% 26,432, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles slipped a notch to second place with sales up 3.2% to 25,862.

General Motors rounded out the top three, with sales of 24,498 vehicles, up 16.5% from March 2015, followed by Toyota in fourth place with sales of 17,264 vehicles, up 15.1%.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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