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News   July 6, 2010   by CARS Magazine

Toyota drops while General Motors gain ground: Reuters

Toyota Motor Co.'s Canadian unit said its June sales dropped 13.8 per cent from a year earlier, while General ...

Toyota Motor Co.’s Canadian unit said its June sales dropped 13.8 per cent from a year earlier, while General Motors Co. said its Canadian sales rose 15.2 per cent.

The two automakers have vied for the top sales spot in Canada over the past couple of years but both saw their numbers eclipsed by Ford of Canada in June. Ford last week posted its best Canadian monthly performance in a decade.

All told, Canadian vehicle sales rose 11.6 per cent in June, according to auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, who puts the industry’s total sales increase at 9.1 per cent for the first half of 2010.

“We have to be very careful when referring to comparable figures from a year ago since last summer the industry was in turmoil due to restructurings in the U.S. by GM and Chrysler,” DesRosiers said in an email.

Toyota, which has been plagued since September by safety recalls of more than 10 million vehicles globally, said it sold 16,036 Toyota and Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs in Canada in June. Sales of Toyota models were down 15.1 per cent, while its luxury Lexus vehicles gained 1.9 per cent.

Toyota said on Friday it planned a global recall of 270,000 of its Lexus models and Toyota Crown sedans due to the possibility that faulty valve springs could cause engines to stall.

The recall was the second for the luxury Lexus brand. Earlier, Toyota told U.S. and Canadian safety regulators it was halting sales and recalling about 17,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedans due to a possible fuel leak.

The latest recalls follow a safety crisis that was triggered mainly by the potential of some Toyota vehicles to accelerate unintentionally.

GM said its June sales were up 15.2 per cent to 25,725 vehicles. Car sales fell 19.6 per cent while truck sales surged 48.3 per cent.

Including only its core brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac — the automaker said sales were up 53.5 per cent in the month. GM emerged from bankruptcy protection last July and is in the midst of restructuring. It has killed off several brands.

Honda Canada, which generally does not offer the same big incentives the other automakers have been using to lure consumers to their showrooms, said on Monday its June sales fell 14 per cent from a year earlier to 11,889 vehicles.

The company’s Honda unit reported a drop of 13 percent, while sales at its Acura division fell 21 percent.

Late last week, Ford Motor Co. said its Canadian sales jumped 15.7 per cent in June, its best monthly performance in a decade.

The Detroit-based company was the top-selling automaker in the country in the month. It was the first time in more than 50 years that it led the market for two consecutive quarters.

Ford of Canada said it sold 31,707 vehicles in June, with car sales up 23.3 per cent and truck sales up 13.2 per cent.

Nissan Canada said it sold 8.6 per cent more vehicles last month than it did a year earlier.

Nissan said total sales rose 8.6 per cent to 8,057 units. The Nissan brand had its best June ever, selling 7,248 vehicles, or 7.5 per cent more than in the same month of 2009, while the Infiniti nameplate accounted for 809 vehicles sold, a 19 per cent increase.

DesRosiers said it was the second month in a row that the traditional Detroit Big Three, led by Ford, outperformed import nameplates in Canada.

“Two months in a row hadn’t happened since the early 1990’s … It appears that the Detroit Three have stabilized their market share in Canada,” DesRosiers said.

Chrysler Canada reported its June figures on the Canada Day holiday last Thursday. The company, which emerged from bankruptcy protection under the control of Fiat SpA, said its sales doubled in June, the seventh straight month of at least 20 percent growth at the retail level.

Chrysler said it sold 18,502 vehicles in Canada, compared with 9,211 in the same month of 2009.

Hyundai Canada said it recorded its second consecutive month of record sales in May and its 16th straight month of increases.

The automaker said it sold 12,620 vehicles in the month, up 12.6 per cent over a year earlier.

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