New light-vehicle sales momentum bounced back in Canada in March, as the average daily selling rate rose 39.8% to 6,000 units on volume of 156,003 from February’s 4,610-a-day pace that netted 103,025 deliveries.

March’s selling rate was up 6.7% year-on-year, but two additional sales days in 2012 held last month’s overall volume below the March-record 157,423 units set last year.

Analysts noted the strong month signaled the likelihood sales for the year will come in just shy of 1.7 million total vehicles, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, the industry’s third-best performance all-time.

Ford and Chrysler selling rates were up 40.0% and 32.8%, respectively, from February, and beat prior-year, both in DSR and unit volume.

Ford credited strong sales of its F-150 pickup, up 23.0% on a volume basis, with helping it exceed its like-2012 performance, as did surges of 170.0% for the Taurus and 209.0% for the redesigned Fusion hybrid.

Chrysler posted its best March in 13 years and its 40th consecutive monthly year-over-year increase.

The news was not as good for General Motors and some transplants.

Although GM’s LV selling pace climbed 33.4% from February on a volume gain of 44.5%, it fell 4.0% short of matching year-ago’s DSR and was 2,466 units shy of its March 2012 volume.

Among the Asian makes, all but Suzuki delivered more LVs daily last month than in February. However, Kia, Nissan/Infiniti and Suzuki failed to match their prior-year selling pace, while Toyota edged ahead 1.1%.

It was better news for the Europeans, all of which posted significant sales-rate gains over February, and all but Volvo (down 32.7%) beat prior-year as well.

abinder@wardsauto.com