Ford fends off Chrysler to keep Canadian crown

Automotive NewsAutomakers boosted their Canadian sales in December by 16 percent, and Ford Motor Co. held on to the top sales spot for the full year despite a late surge by FCA's Canadian unit.

Total industry sales last year rose 6 percent to 1.8 million vehicles, according to results tabulated today by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.

Chrysler Canada sold 21,613 cars and trucks in December, 40 percent more than a year earlier and wrapped up the best unit sales year in its 90-year history. Chrysler's sales had beaten Ford's in October and November.

Even so, Ford was the country's top-selling automaker for the fifth year in a row. Its sales jumped 40 percent to 22,640 for December and rose 3 percent to 291,951 for the full year. The company's 2014 sales came in ahead of Chrysler's, which increased 12 percent to 290,004.

The news came as automakers reported strong U.S. sales for December, boosted by falling gasoline prices, but executives cautioned that growth could slow in 2015 after five years of rapid recovery from the recession.

General Motors Co's Canadian unit sold 13 percent more vehicles in December than a year earlier, and full-year sales rose 6.3 percent from 2013.

GM Canada sold 19,247 units in December and 249,800 over the full year. Car sales jumped 22.9 percent in December, and truck sales rose 9.1 percent. The full-year sales gains were more evenly split, with a 6.5 percent increase for cars and a 6.2 percent lift for trucks.

Sales of Ford's popular F-Series pickup trucks rose 37 percent for December as the 2015 F-150 went on sale. Trucks made up nearly 80 percent of Ford's Canadian sales in 2014.

Chrysler's full-year results benefited in part from the Jeep Cherokee SUV, whose sales rose more than 600 percent from 2013. The key model started shipping in October 2013, replacing the discontinued Liberty. Overall, Jeep sales rose more than 50 percent.

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