Thanks to record light-truck sales, Canadian dealers delivered 148,353 new light vehicles to buyers in September, surpassing by 3.7% the month’s prior all-time high of 143,087 set in 2000.

Although September sales were up just 5,445 units compared with year-ago, having just 23 selling days this year vs. 25 in 2012 yielded a robust 12.8% increase in the average daily selling rate to 6,450 from 5,716.

The September benchmark also represented a 9.7% increase from 5,881 units daily in August, although fewer selling days kept September’s tally from matching the prior month’s 158,781.

Analysts saw the record September performance as evidence total vehicle sales in Canada likely would reach a new high for the year, possibly ending just short of 1.8 million units.

September’s record performance was due to renewed buyer interest in light trucks, sales of which hit 82,687, the fourth consecutive September record, besting prior-year’s 78,333 by 14.7% in daily rate.

Although buyers took home cars at a rate 10.5% higher than year-ago and 11.0% above that of August, the 65,666 units sold in September were well below the record 86,273 delivered in September 1986.

Ford again led the industry with September LV sales of 25,205 units, a gain of 17.3% on year-ago, thanks in part to light-truck deliveries buoyed by the highest F-150 sales count ever for the month.

Chrysler credited  strong sales of the Dodge Dart, Dodge and Chrysler minivans and Ram trucks for driving its September performance to a 13-year high of 19,720 deliveries that surpassed prior-year’s selling rate, on volume of 19,394, by 10.5%.

Third-place General Motors posted a 5.9% year-over-year gain average daily sales, but its 18,270 units failed to top the 18,756 LVs sold in September last year, in large part due to lackluster car sales.

Fourth-place Toyota Canada said its sales reached an all-time September high of 17,268 units, crediting record deliveries of Toyota cars and trucks and Lexus luxury models.

 abinder@wardsauto.com