January obliterated Honda’s bitter 2011 memories of inventory woes and double-digit sales declines as the auto maker saw a whopping 126.9% surge in Canadian-market light-vehicle deliveries, according toWardsAuto data.

It was the largest year-over-year gain of any auto maker and helped Asia-based brands capture a 45% share in the region, 4.2 points greater than like-2011, which preceded a trio of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand that disrupted global supply chains and choked production in North America.

Of the 16 Asian brands on sale in Canada, only low-volume Isuzu and Suzuki were in negative year-over-year sales territory in January. And with the exception of niche players Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru, all others were double-digit gainers.

Asian auto makers recorded a 21.5% sales climb in January, compared with prior-year.

Though North American auto makers clung to their 2-month market-share lead by accounting for 45.3% of sales in the month, their stake plunged 4.8 points from prior-year’s 50.1%.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler saw their combined sales tick up just 4.2% in January, compared with like-2011, while European OEMs upped their share 0.5 points to 9.6% on a 21.5% year-over-year jump in deliveries.

Canadian dealers moved 97,106 light vehicles in the month, a 15.1% boost from like-2011’s 84,376.

Honda’s core brand saw its share of Canada’s car market climb 8.6 points to 14.4% on the strength of Civic demand. January sales of the new-for-’12 compact totaled 4,928, more than four times like-2011’s 1,135-unit tally.

The Civic was Canada’s best-selling car by a wide margin in January. The Toyota Corolla’s 2,337-unit total, not counting Matrix models, was second, followed by the Mazda3’s 1,912 sales.

Honda’s performance marked a dramatic turnaround from 2011, when the Asia-based supply chain was rocked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and October flooding in Thailand.

The turmoil contributed to the auto maker’s 12.7% full-year sales shortfall in Canada, a market where the auto maker historically has been strong. Along with Suzuki, Honda was one of just two Asian OEMs whose delivery totals were less than prior-year’s.

Asian auto makers accounted for 62.9% of Canada’s car sales in January, an increase of 4.4 share points. Total-market car sales soared 29.4%, year over year.

While trucks outsold cars 56,675 to 40,431, the segment grew more slowly with a 6.7% volume gain over like-2011.

The Ford F-Series pickup maintained its longtime status as the top seller with 6,184 deliveries, followed by Chrysler’s Ram pickup and Dodge Caravan minivan with tallies of 4,345 and 3,534, respectively.

But the segment saw the same share shift witnessed in the overall market. North American OEMs suffered a 3.4-point decline to 61.2% in January, while Asian and European auto makers recorded gains.

Asian OEMs benefited from a 1.9-point jump to 32.3%, and their continental competitors celebrated a 1.5-point boost to 6.5%.

emayne@wardsauto.com