Canadian sales of new cars and light trucks fell 27.7 per cent last month compared with a year ago, as traditional market leader General Motors of Canada saw its deliveries skid by a startling 56.7 per cent.
That put GM third in monthly sales behind the Canadian subsidiaries of Chrysler and Ford.
Overall Canadian sales of passenger cars were down 29.9 per cent from a year ago to 40,786.
Meanwhile, sales of light trucks — pickups, SUVs and minivans — dropped 25.2 per cent to 39,444, according to industry data tallied by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
The total number of light vehicles sold last month, 80,230, was actually slightly higher than in January, when about 76,900 were moved.
While GM Canada’s sales plunged to 11,381 from 26,309 a year earlier, Chrysler was last month’s market leader with 11,923, down 27 per cent from February 2008.
“Our position as the No. 1 automaker this month clearly demonstrates the continued confidence Canadians have in Chrysler vehicles and in the company’s future,” declared company president Reid Bigland.
“Stunning is the only word I can think of at this point,” industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers’ commented on GM’s sales slide. He said it appears to be the first time since 1949 that General Motors has not been the Canadian market leader.