TORONTO — Some of Canada’s top automakers reported a strong rebound in sales last month after a weak performance in May.



Automakers in Canada saw their sales improve dramatically on an annual basis and monthly basis.



Overall, the sales in the industry were up 6.6 per cent to 164,796 from
154,565 a year ago, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive
Consultants. That was an industry best since at least 2004.



Most automakers also saw a bounce from weak sales activity reported in
May, when the industry recorded a 3.8 per cent drop, with 149,034 sales.



``Car and light truck sales bounced back in June, rebounding from a weak
performance in May, when purchases were undercut by negative headlines
emanating from the European sovereign debt crisis,’’ said Carlos Gomes,
an auto analyst at Scotia Capital.



May was the only month of the year that many automakers reported a
decline in sales, led by falling truck sales. That made observers
question whether high gas prices might have forced drivers to rein in
purchases.



But truck sales outpaced car sales once again in June, with figures up
seven per cent compared to car sales that were up 6.2 per cent,
according to DesRosiers’ research.



Automakers had been reporting larger increases in car sales for most of this year due to soaring fuel costs.



Gomes noted that last month’s strong performance lifted vehicle
purchases to an annualized 1.67 million, partially reflecting enhanced
incentives to lure customers back, including employee pricing.



``Several automakers reported record sales last month. With
manufacturers maintaining enhanced incentives in July, the Canadian auto
market promises to remain hot through the summer.’’



Ford Canada once again claimed the top spot with June sales that
increased six per cent to 33,450 from 31,707 from year-earlier levels.
That was its best June since 1989.



``After some uncertainty in May, we experienced a nice uptick in
showroom traffic in June,’’ David Mondragon, president and CEO, Ford of
Canada said in a statement.



``In fact, the Canadian market may come in stronger for 2011 than first forecasted.’’



In June, Ford car sales were up 32 per cent, driven by its Focus,
Fusion, Taurus and Mustang. Truck sales, however, fell nearly four per
cent.



General Motors Canada, Canada’s second best selling automaker last
month, said sales grew 12 per cent from a year ago, led by its Chevrolet
Cruze and other fuel efficient cars and crossovers. The company
reported total sales of 27,865 vehicles, compared to 24,897 a year
earlier.



Car sales rose 14 per cent, while truck sales gained 11 per cent.



``With gas prices on the rise, customers have embraced fuel efficiency
leaders such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC
Terrain,’’ said Marc Comeau, vice-president of sales, service and
marketing at GM of Canada.



Chrysler Canada reported the largest improvement from year ago sales
among Detroit’s so-called big three automakers, and the top three
selling brands in Canada. The company said its sales soared 27 per cent
to 23,576 vehicles from 18,502 a year ago. That was its best June since
2005.



Meanwhile, many Japanese automakers saw another decline in monthly
sales, DesRosiers found. Toyota Canada saw a nearly 28 per cent drop to
10,564 units from 14,607. Suzuki sales fell 37.4 per cent to 457 from
730 a year ago. Mazda sales dropped three per cent to 7,010 from 7,218 a
year ago.



Honda Canada said its sales, including the luxury Acura model, fell by 19 per cent to 9,584 vehicles.