Canadian dealers sold 7.2% fewer light vehicles in August than they did the previous month, but that was good enough to best prior-year results by 2.0%, with Ford still leading the pack despite a 7.3% year-over-year decline.

With one extra selling day this year, Canada LV sales reached 148,609 units on a daily average of 5,716 vehicles, compared with 5,605 in August 2011 on a volume of 140,127.

A 4.3% increase in car sales trumped the industry’s modest 0.2% gain in light trucks that saw widespread declines in pickup and SUV deliveries.

Despite stellar performances by the light-duty F-Series, up 16.9%, and Explorer, up 17.6%, Ford’s overall light-truck sales rose just 1.7%.

Although robust medium-duty truck sales netted the auto maker a 4.0% gain in truck deliveries overall, that wasn’t enough to offset Ford’s 31.9% car-sales decline.

Second place Chrysler posted a 5.09% gain in August LV sales, led by a 77.4% increase in car deliveries that was offset somewhat by a 2.2% decline in light-truck demand.

Widespread declines in both cars and light trucks led to GM’s 19.1% shortfall in August LV sales vs. year-ago.

Meanwhile, a 16.6% increase in Asian-brand sales was helped along by increases of 44.1% at Honda and 20.5% at Toyota, both hard hit by natural disaster-related inventory shortages a year ago.

Hyundai, which posted record August sales but saw its daily selling rate dip below year-ago, says it expects the September arrival of its all-new Santa Fe cross/utility vehicle to keep volume growing through the end of the year.

Despite the good news, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants cautions the industry’s recovery so far this year lags those of previous cyclical upswings.

abinder@wardsauto.com