Canadian auto sales up for second month in January

* Monthly sales up 6.2 percent in January

* Toyota sales hit by recall, down 10.4 percent

* GM No. 1, followed by Chrysler, Ford

By John McCrank

TORONTO, Feb 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Canadian auto sales rose for the
second month in a row in January, up 6.2 percent, but that was
compared to a year earlier when sales were at their lowest
point in a decade and the country was gripped by recession.

A massive recall by Toyota (7203.T: ) that temporarily
suspended sales of eight of their most popular models added to
the lackluster results.

Canadians bought 81,581 vehicles last month, compared with
76,850 a year earlier, according to data from DesRosiers
Automotive Consultants Inc.

“But at least sales were up slightly and January is the
lowest absolute sales month each year, so you can’t read too
much into this early market performance,” said Dennis
DesRosiers, president of the firm. “March to June are the make
or break months.”

Toyota Canada Inc saw its January sales sag 10.4 percent to
10,269 vehicles. The automaker’s Toyota division recorded a
14.8 percent drop as many of its most popular models were
pulled from showrooms toward the end of the month due to a
faulty accelerator pedal mechanism.

The company was also recalling 270,000 vehicles in Canada
because of the problem.

“We are currently shipping pedal components to our Toyota
dealers and we anticipate modifications to customer vehicles to
begin later this week.” said Stephen Beatty, managing director
of Toyota Canada International.

“We also anticipate that new vehicle sales suspended as
part of our recall action will resume this weekend.”

Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand notched a 62.1 percent gain
over last January.

General Motors [GM.UL] was the biggest auto seller in
Canada for the month. Its sales rose 4.4 percent to 14,880
vehicles. Car sales were down 3.8 percent, while truck sales
rose 8.8 percent.

Chrysler was No. 2, with a 6 percent rise in sales to
11,940 vehicles. Its passenger car sales fell 39.3 percent,
while truck sales jumped 17.6 percent.

Sales at Ford Canada (F.N: ) climbed 5.7 percent to 11,553
vehicles, with car sales up 0.8 percent and trucks up 7 percent
to 9,272. Ford was the only one of the top five automakers in
Canada to record positive sales in 2009, and it said January
marked fifteen consecutive months of market share increases.

Honda Canada (7267.T: ) posted a 15 percent January decline
to 6,393 vehicles. Sales in the Honda division slid 12 percent,
while the Acura division was down 35 percent year-on-year.

Investing Research

(Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)

Canadian auto sales up for second month in January