TORONTO - December proved to be a big month for many of Canada's leading car companies as Ford of Canada, Toyota Canada and Hyundai all reported banner months.
Ford said its December sales soared more than 25 per cent compared with 2008, while Toyota claimed its best-ever sales for the month.
Hyundai's sales for the month, although only about third of the other two at 5,154 vehicles, were nevertheless 37 per cent higher than in 2008 as the company experienced its best-ever year in Canada.
Nissan also reported a solid month, with sales up 15 per cent year-over-year, as did Subaru, which reported a 27.2 per cent increase in December.
General Motors reported it sold a total of 18,984 vehicles, down 9.6 per cent from 21,000 in December 2008 - but still enough to give it the highest Canadian sales volume for the month.
GM did see a slight increase in the number of light truck sales, which rose 0.9 per cent to 12,848 last month from 12,733 a year earlier. But the number of GM cars sold fell by 25.8 per cent to 6,136 from 8,267.
For the full year, GM sold a total of 254,257 vehicles, down 29.1 per cent from 358,253 in 2008. The number of cars sold fell by 44.7 per cent to 96,874 175,341 and truck sales fell by 14.2 per cent to 157,383 from 183,012.
Ford said it sold a total of 17,930 vehicles in December 2009, up from 14,290 in the same month in 2008. Overall sales for 2009 totalled 225,216 vehicles, up 6.7 per cent from the 211,060 the previous year.
Toyota, citing what it called preliminary year-end results, sold 16,366 vehicles in December.
It put yearly sales at "approximately" 205,028 vehicles, its second-best yearly total. The 2009 figure included 189,226 vehicles sold under the Toyota banner and 15,802 by its luxury Lexus division.
Hyundai said it sold 103,233 vehicles in 2009, a 28 per cent annual increase over the previous year and the first time company sales have hit six figures in Canada.
Ford said its results not only showed a continued growth in market share, but also the company's seventh consecutive month of retail sales gain.
"Canadian consumers showed confidence in the Ford brand and recognized the quality and value in our lineup," president and CEO David Mondragon said in a news release.
"We grew our sales despite a down industry, powered by the freshest showroom in the country," he said, noting that Ford had more product launches than any other automaker in 2009.
"The industry continues to show signs of strength and we see a modest recovery coming in 2010," Mondragon added.
Nissan Canada Inc. said its Nissan and Infiniti brands sold 5,141 vehicles in December en route to yearly combined sales of 79,018 units.
The 2009 total, although down almost five per cent from its record-breaking 2008 results, still represented the second-best year ever for Nissan.