Canada auto sales rise for Ford, drop for Fiat Chrysler in 2016

Ford Motor Co on Wednesday said 2016 was its best year for Canadian sales since 1989, fueled by demand for pickup trucks and SUVs, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 4 percent decline in sales last year, compared with 2015.

Ford said in a statement it sold 304,618 vehicles in Canada in 2016, up 9.4 percent compared with 278,531 units in 2015. For December, the automaker reported the sale of 19,759 vehicles, up 0.7 percent compared with 19,623 vehicles during the same month in 2015.

Fiat Chrysler reported the sale of 278,729 vehicles in Canada last year, down 4 percent compared with 291,166 units in 2015. The automaker said in a statement it sold 18,870 vehicles last month, down 11 percent compared with December 2015.

Analysts have said they expect auto manufacturers overall would set another Canadian market record in 2016, with sales rising to around 1.96 million vehicles from 1.90 million units in 2015. The full-year tally was due to be released later on Wednesday.

In the United States, General Motors Co on Wednesday reported an unexpected 8 percent rise in auto sales while Ford also beat forecasts, indicating that 2016 results will beat a record high set in 2015.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert; editing by Grant McCool and Tom Brown)