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The Kia Soul

Canadian auto sales fall 17.8 per cent

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Auto makers are reporting mixed Canadian sales for April, with declines of between 10 per cent and more than 30 per cent for the major players — and year-over-year gains for some smaller brands, notably the South Koreans

Overall industry sales were 17.8 per cent below year-ago levels, according to a tally by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Market leader General Motors of Canada Ltd. fell 23.6 per cent to 29,476 units, while Chrysler Canada Inc. plunged 36.8 per cent to 15,242. Parent Chrysler LLC filed for court protection from creditors on Thursday, and GM faces a June 1 deadline to restructure or confront insolvency.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. recorded a 10.5 per cent sales decline from April 2008 to 18,828 units. But Ford gained market share and said sales of its mid-size Fusion sedan were up 24 per cent while the top-selling F-150 pickup pulled ahead 17 per cent.

Toyota Canada Inc. was second in overall sales for the month despite a 17.9 per cent decline from a year ago. It moved 19,599 Toyotas and 1,621 Lexus premium products.

Honda Canada Inc. sales slumped 29 per cent from record results a year ago to 13,295, including its premium Acura division. Honda sales were down 28 per cent at 11,865 and Acura fell 36 per cent to 1,430. Looking on the bright side, Honda Canada executive vice-president Jerry Chenkin noted that the company's total sales were down only 12 per cent from April, 2007.

Nissan Canada Inc. sales were down 20.1 per cent at 7,074, including Infiniti.

The news wasn't all glum, as Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru boasted record sales.

Kia Canada Inc. sold 4,276 vehicles, up 15 per cent from a year ago for the best month in the South Korean car maker's 10 years in Canada. The boxy new Soul small crossover posted 1,017 sales in its second month on the market.

Stablemate Hyundai Auto Canada Inc. boosted its deliveries by 14.8 per cent to 10,809.

Canadians bought 2,267 new Mercedes-Benzes, up 21.3 per cent from April of last year. The German premium auto maker moved 601 of its new GLK chunky crossovers.

And Japan-based Subaru said it sold 2,050 of its all-wheel-drive cars and crossovers, up 4.1 per cent from last April and 2.4 per cent above its previous best-ever month last July.