For only the third time this year, light-vehicle sales in Canada fell behind year-ago levels, as October tallied 120,635 units, down 2.0% on a daily rate basis (25 days this year vs. 24 in like-2006).

The drop follows a 6-month span of climbing sales and brings calendar year-to-date deliveries to 1,413,671 vehicles, 3.7% ahead of year-ago’s 1,362,932.

Related document: Ward's Canada Light Vehicle Sales by Brand

While most vehicle segments suffered declines in October, cross/utility vehicles rose 17.2% and pickup trucks increased 6.3%.

General Motors of Canada Ltd. posted an 8.7% gain overall to 30,090 units. Robust Pontiac Grand Prix demand helped spur a 14.4% surge in car deliveries. And while GM’s CUV deliveries were up, sales of the Pontiac Montana and Chevy Uplander vans are what drove a 4.5% increase in light trucks.

Overall, Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. results were flat, with its total of 17,209 units good for only a 0.2% gain over year-ago. However, a significant mix change left Ford passenger cars 19.3% short of last year’s total, while light trucks jumped 8.6%. Increased sales of Ford CUVs and pickups caused the shift, while the small-, large-, midsize- and luxury-car segments all declined.

Chrysler Canada Inc. notched sales of 15,411 units, 1.5% behind year-ago. A 3.8% uptick in light trucks was not enough to offset the 16.2% decline in car deliveries. While CUV sales were strong, increased SUV and pickup demand helped support the upturn in light-truck deliveries.

Toyota Canada Inc. sales fell 13.2% to14,484 units. Despite a strong performance by the fullsize Tundra pickup, light trucks lagged 2.3% behind year-ago, while car deliveries trailed by 18.0%.

Sales for Nissan North America Inc. and Honda Canada Inc. also paled in year-on-year comparisons, dropping 2.9% and 12.4%, respectively. Mitsubishi Motors North America outshined all other auto makers in Canada, with a 55.1% jump thanks to a hike in both car and truck deliveries.

Despite the sales decline, Chrysler managed to eke out a larger market share in Canada, edging up from year-ago’s 12.7% to 12.8%. GM’s share increased to 24.9% from 22.5%, and Ford’s penetration grew to 14.3% from 13.9%.