Auto recovery gains momentum

TORONTO — Ford Canada has reported its best January sales since 2000, while several automakers reported new records for the month, signalling that momentum is building as the auto industry slowly recovers from recession.

TORONTO — Ford Canada has reported its best January sales since 2000, while several automakers reported new records for the month, signalling that momentum is building as the auto industry slowly recovers from recession.

The automaker said Tuesday that January sales grew 24 per cent to 14,324 vehicles compared with 11,553 last year. January also marks its 20th consecutive month of year-over-year retail sales gains.

Overall car sales grew 19 per cent, while truck sales were up 25 per cent.

Sales of the Ford Explorer increased 45 per cent, while improved sales of the Ford Focus, Ford Escape and Ford F-Series also helped boost revenue, the company said.

“For 2011, we’re expecting moderate industry growth of about two per cent,” said David Mondragon, president and CEO, of Ford Canada said in a release.

Last month’s figures come after the world’s biggest automakers reported better-than-expected full-year sales for 2010.

Meanwhile, Chrysler Canada reported Tuesday that January sales grew 14 per cent year over year, its 14th consecutive month of sales growth.

Chrysler Canada said it sold 13,587 vehicles last month, compared to 11,940 a year earlier.

The Ram, Grand Caravan and Dodge Journey set records for January sales, a pace that is on track to beat record sales seen in 2010, the automaker said.

“We gained more market share than any other manufacturer in 2010 and it’s good to see the momentum has carried over into 2011,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Chrysler Canada.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all reported record January sales in Canada.

Volkswagen Canada sold 2,861 vehicles, besting its previous record set in 2000 by more than 18 per cent. Sales were 23 per cent higher than last January’s 2,332 vehicles.

Kia Canada sales increased 26.2 per cent to 3,049 vehicles, its 25th consecutive month of sales growth.

Subaru Canada sold 1,753 vehicles, up a modest 1.4 per cent from last year.

Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. said it sold 6,684 units in January, 9.9 per cent above the company’s previous January sales record.