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Canadian buyers rev up auto sales

Published by Steve Coleman on March 29, 2012

New passenger vehicles have been rolling off Canadian car dealer lots at an accelerated rate in the last year.

Drivers looking to replace their worn-out rides pushed volumes into the double digits in February, year-over-year from 2011. It marked the second-straight double-digit sales increase for the auto industry, as sales revved up 11 per cent from the previous year.

A Scotia Bank study says sales totals were up two per cent from the previous year and drivers have been looking for new vehicles at the highest level since early 2010 before the second wave of global economic hiccups hit.

The bank estimates purchases were in the neighbourhood of an annualized 1.7 million light cars and trucks in February, up from a three-month average of 1.63 million. The auto industry sold 1.59 million vehicles in Canada in 2011.

Rising oil and gas prices have also prompted new vehicle buyers to look at smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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