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Mazda3 outsells Civic
by Canadian Press posted Mar 2, 2004
TORONTO -- The new Mazda3 sports compact zoomed ahead of the perennially top-selling Honda Civic in January, while Ford's F-Series pickups continued to carry the greatest share of new truck buyers, according to statistics compiled by a leading auto analyst.

Sales of the Mazda3 totalled 2,510 in January, passing the Civic, which has perennially been the No.1 passenger car in Canada, show sales numbers compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.

Sales of the Civic totalled 2,467, off 25.4 per cent from the previous January.

The F-Series pickups were ahead of the Dodge Caravan, which until last year had been the best-selling vehicle in Canada for five years running.

But even the F-Series trucks fell in January compared to the same month in 2003, down 10 per cent to 3,700 vehicles. Sales of the Caravan dropped 19.6 per cent to 3,181.

Overall Canadian sales in January were 11.5 per cent below the same month last year, with total sales of 82,728 vehicles in Canada, according to DesRosiers.

February sales figures will be released this week.

"Civic has had a three-year run as Canada's best-selling car but as it ages all the new products are catching up," said industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

He noted that the F-Series' current dominance over the Caravan in the light truck category of the market heralds bad news for automotive production in Canada since the DaimlerChrysler minivan is produced in Windsor, Ont. Overall sales of minivans were down 14.3 per cent in January.

"This is bad news for Canada since so much of our production base is focused on this segment," DesRosiers said. "Expect a tough production year if this continues for any length of time."

Total new car and light truck sales in Canada fell to 1.593 million vehicles -- down 6.4 per cent from the record 1.7 million units sold in 2002.

Behind the Civic among sales of passenger cars was the Toyota Corolla (2,017, down 5.5 per cent from January 2003). In fourth was the Pontiac Grand Am (2,011, up 13.6 per cent) followed by the Toyota Echo (1,791, up 24.9 per cent).

In the light truck segment -- a broad category which includes minivans, sport utility vehicles and pickups -- the F-Series trucks and the Caravan were followed by the Dodge Ram (2,274, down 7.4 per cent), Chevrolet Silverado (2,021, down 9.1 per cent) and the GMC Sierra (1,937, down 10.9 per cent).
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