Fiat contributes to March sales increase for Chrysler
Ford Canada has said they have reclaimed the top spot in Canadian auto sales for the month of March, despite a three per-cent decline in the first few months of 2012.
Chrysler surpassed Ford for sales in January and February, and has announced an eight per cent increase in Canadian sales for March. On Tuesday the Detroit based auto giant said they sold more vehicles north of the border than any of its competitors in March, but Ford quickly stepped in to correct the statement.
Chrysler, whose models include Ram pick-up trucks, Jeep, Dodge and Fiat, was third in Canadian sales last year, behind Ford and General Motors, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The notable increase has taken the market by surprise, as it comes at a time when economic recovery is an international concern.
Whether Ford, Chrysler or GM is leading the pack, industry experts expect the strong auto sales to continue, although maybe at a less shocking rate.
“We are expecting that the pace of the gains will moderate,” Carlos Gomes, Scotiabank auto industry expert, told thedailyplanet.com.
“A four to five percent increase is expected this year,” he said.
Gomez said Chrysler’s success may be related to the global economic climate, and said the sales increase is "an indication of consumers shifting to smaller more fuel efficient vehicles."
Some experts are attributing the overwhelming increase in sales to the newly introduced subcompact Fiat, which fits the bill of small, fuel-efficient vehicles.
"What we are seeing is that it’s the small cars that are driving the increase in Canada," Gomes added. "The introduction of Fiat and so forth is definitely helping."
Ford’s comeback fits the pattern as well, gaining five per cent in March based on strong demand for the compact Focus, the Globe and Mail reports. It was the company’s best March performance since the recession hit in 2007.
"The industry continues to build momentum as we go into the spring. Typically the lowest selling month tends to be January and it improves to a peak in April, May and then moderates through the summer. We are just getting into the big spring buying season," Gomes said.