Chrysler says it's No. 1 in Cdn sales in January

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 finished fourth in the voting. (CHRYSLER/HO)

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 finished fourth in the voting. (CHRYSLER/HO)


, Last Updated: 2:22 PM ET

Chrysler Canada said on Wednesday it was the country’s top-selling automaker in January with sales of its passenger vehicles rising 158%.

Chrysler, which was No. 3 in sales last year, has increased its market share steadily since emerging from bankruptcy 2-1/2 years ago. It said it sold 16,584 vehicles in January, up 22% from January 2011.

“We have been the fastest growing automaker in Canada for the past two years, and it is great to start 2012 as the highest-selling vehicle company in Canada,” Dave Buckingham, chief operating Officer at Chrysler Canada, said in a statement.

Ford Motor Co, which was Canada’s top-selling automaker in 2011 followed by General Motors, said it sold 14,978 vehicles in January, an increase of 4.6% over January 2011.

Ford’s total car sales in Canada rose 7.5% to 2,928 while its truck sales, its traditional mainstay in Canada, increased 3.9% to 12,050.

Chrysler, whose strength in Canada has also traditionally been its trucks, said its passenger car sales in January were led by the made-in-Canada Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger. It said it sold 2,527 passenger cars in the month, up 158%.

A lacklustre vehicle lineup and an untenable cost structure pushed Chrysler to the brink of collapse before the U.S., Canadian and Ontario governments bailed it out in 2009. Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy under the management control of Italian automaker Fiat SpA.

(Reporting By Nicole Mordant; editing by Peter Galloway)