Chrysler Canada takes No. 1 sales spot

Chrysler Canada became the No. 1 seller of new vehicles in Jauary, posting a 22 per cent jump in sales over January, 2011, the automaker said Wednesday.

Chrysler Canada announced the company’s 26th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. January sales were 16,584 compared to 13,587 in January — the highest sales of any company in Canada. The month also marked the highest retail January sales since 2002.

“We have been the fastest growing automaker in Canada for the past two years, and it is great to start 2012 as the highest selling vehicle company in Canada,” said Dave Buckingham, chief operating officer of Chrysler Canada. “We have always been one of Canada’s highest selling truck companies but, with our fuel efficient passenger car sales more than doubling last month, we have become the number 1 seller of vehicles overall.”

For the first month of 2012, overall light-duty vehicle sales in Canada were 97,492, not including Saab, according to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC).

Truck sales continue to see growth, improving 7.4 per cent over January 2011, with 58,342 units sold in January 2012. Passenger cars came on strong with a 28.8 per cent improvement in sales over January 2011, with 41,150 units sold, resulting in the light truck share of the overall market dropping to 57.8 per cent versus 62.1 of total sales last January, acording to AIAMC.

Honda had an especially strong month, propelled by sales of the 2012 Civic, Fit and redesigned CR-V, for a combined monthly jump of 126.9 per cent.

Toyota, too, pulled a strong month, with a record January of 10,660 units.

Passenger car sales at Chrysler Canada more than doubled from 2011, with 2,527 units sold in January. This was led primarily by sales of the Brampton-built Chrysler 300, which saw an increase of 260 per cent from the year prior with 457 sales reported in January 2012. The Dodge Charger had sales of 670 this month, compared to 161 in 2011 — an increase of 316 per cent.

In the U.S., Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales jumped 44 per-cent last month compared with sales in January 2011 — the automaker’s best January sales since 2008, the company said.

General Motors sales in the U.S. were down six per cent last month compared to the same period last year.

Ford sales rose 7 per cent.

“The strength that the economy and the auto industry showed in the fourth quarter carried into January, so we believe the year is off to a good start,” Don Johnson, G.M.’s vice president of U. S. sales operations, said in a statement.

Chrysler Group’s net profit of $183 million for 2011 was up from a net loss of $652 million in 2010.

“The house is in good order. We are proud of the work we’ve done,” Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LL. said in a statement. “Now we greet a new year of high expectations with our heads down, forging ahead and focused on executing the goals we’ve set for ourselves as a company.”

In an email to Chrysler employees, Marchionne promised a “performance award payments to all eligible and represented employees. This is a reward that you have earned,” he said. “The more difficult task, the more satisfying it is to overcome all obstacles. You have been to hell and back, and you defied predictions of our demise. Your efforts rewrote history that so many naysayers have forecast.”

Other sales results, according to AIAMC

Audi: January sales of 1,501, up 31.7 per cent.

BMW: January sales of 1,845, up 34.4 per cent..

Honda: January sales of 9,168, up 126.9 per cent.

Hyundai: January sales of 7,460, up 11.6 per cent..

Jaguar Land Rover: January sales of 343, up 67.3 per cent.

Kia: January sales of 3,774, up 23.8 per cent. (Record).

Mercedes-Benz: January sales of 2,057, up 31.5 per cent.

Mitsubishi: January sales of 1,423, up 1 per cent.

Nissan: January sales of 5,351, up 23.4 per cent.

Porsche: January sales of 145, up 1.4 per cent.

Subaru: January sales of 1,876, up 7.0 per cent.

Toyota: January sales of 10,660, up 17.8 per cent. (Record).

Volkswagen: January sales of 3,109, up 8.7 per cent.

— With files by Derek McNaughton.

Photograph by: Mike Segar, REUTERS