Ford Canada gains, Fiat Chrysler drops on pickup sales

October 3, 2016 2:01 PM EDT

The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Warren Transmission Operations Plant in Warren, Michigan October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) reported higher September vehicle sales in Canada on Monday, boosted by sales of pickups, as Fiat Chrysler sales plunged 18 percent, hurt in part by a sharp drop in the number of deliveries of Ram pickup trucks.

Total Canadian auto sales were down 0.5 percent versus the prior month, with a sharp fall in passenger car sales offset by more light truck sales, industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers wrote in a note to clients.

"The market has moved whole-heartedly to light trucks", DesRosiers said, accounting for two-thirds of the 173,460 light vehicle sales in the month.

Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup sales dropped 23 percent to 6,655 trucks, and Dodge brand sales were down 9 percent. Overall, Fiat Chrysler sales dropped to 19,639 vehicles from 23,979.

Meanwhile, Ford's Canadian sales rose 6.9 percent to 30,170 vehicles even as car sales dropped 25 percent. Sales of F-Series pickup trucks rose 21 percent to 15,659 vehicles.

"Our investment in building the toughest, smartest, most capable trucks is paying off," said Ford of Canada Chief Executive Dianne Craig in a statement.

The Canadian results contrasted sharply with the United States, where sales of the Ram 1500 pickup jumped 29 percent, and the Fiat Chrysler's overall sales edged down only 1 percent. Ford said F-Series sales were down 3 percent in the United States from a year earlier.

GM said its Canadian dealers delivered 25,466 vehicles during the month, up 2 percent from a year earlier, its strongest September performance since 2008.

DesRosiers said sales incentives typically rise in September as some manufacturers seek to clear out last year's models.

Chevrolet sales rose 5 percent, helped by growth in Chevrolet crossovers and a 58 percent jump in sales of the Colorado pickup truck. It said sales of the GMC Canyon, another pickup, rose 39 percent.

(Reporting by Allison Martell and Alastair Sharp; Editing by Alan Crosby and Grant McCool)

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