Light vehicle sales in Canada rose 7.8% in August to 153,638 from 142,537 in same month a year ago, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Sales of passenger cars improved 4.2 per cent to 82,245, while purchases of light trucks, including minivans, sport utility vehicles and pickups, grew 12.3 per cent to 71,393.

"August quite frankly surprised us," Dennis DesRosiers wrote Tuesday in his monthly commentary on auto sales.

"August sales of 153,638 units was by a long shot the most vehicles ever purchased in August ... the previous record was August 2002 when sales were 148,100 units."

Ford of Canada clawed back market share as it sold 21,266 cars in the month, up 28.6% from a year ago when it sold just 16,531.

Ford also increased its year-to-date market share to 14.7%, up from 13.7% in 2005.

However General Motors of Canada sales were down 4.5% at 37,012 units in August.

Toyota Canada increased sales 16.2% to 17,865 units. Toyota's year-to-date market share also improved to 11.6% from 10.3% last year.