New light vehicle sales in Canada fell 25% year on year last month and compounded a 21% slide in December.


Canadians bought 76,850 vehicles last month compared with 102,831 in January 2008, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said.


“Canada has clearly joined the global automotive recession and is bringing a lot of companies with it,” DesRosiers said in a clients’ note cited by Reuters.


Below the border, US auto sales fell to a 27-year low in January, with Chrysler‘s 55% plunge the worst. Only Hyundai posted a modest uptick following a new finance offer.


General Motors of Canada’s sales tumbled 46.6% to 14,254 vehicles. Its passenger car sales plunged 60.3% to 5,034 while trucks were off 34% at 9,220.


GM said truck sales slid 34% to 9,220, while car sales dropped a massive 60.3% to 5,034 units.


“January sales continued to reflect the overall Canadian market challenges seen at the end of 2008,” said the automaker’s sales and marketing chief Marc Comeau said in a statement. “GM’s product lineup of new, affordable, fuel efficient vehicles is well positioned to respond to improving consumer credit and confidence we hope and expect to see in the months ahead as government stimulus efforts and other factors start to take hold in Canada.”


Comeau said GM Canada would soon launch the new, Canadian-made Chevrolet Camaro sport coupe and Equinox while the new Buick Allure “continues the Buick renaissance which began with the popular Enclave. These new models deliver surprising fuel efficiency improvements and outstanding performance and design.”


Ford sales were off 14.1% to 10,933 with cars down 20.9% to 2,264 and trucks down 12.2% to 8,669.


“There’s no doubt that 2009 will be a challenging year, but at Ford of Canada, we continue to outperform the industry,” said the automaker’s president and CEO David MONDRAGON.


He noted the Canadian-built Flex also achieved its best month of sales since its launch in June last year, and its fifth consecutive month of sales increases.


“Ford has the right plan, the right products and the right team to lead through these tough economic times and to be well-positioned for profitable growth in the future,” Mondragon added.


Chrysler Canada sales plunged 33.6% to 11,259 units, Reuters said. Car sales dropped a sharp 53.2%, to 2,294 units, while truck sales fell 25.6% to 8,965 units.


“It’s no secret that today’s automotive market is tougher than a 10 cent steak,” Chrysler Canada CEO Reid Bigland was quoted as saying in a statement.


Toyota, the number two automaker in Canada, slid 2.7% in January from a year earlier to 10,269 vehicles.


Toyota division sales inched up 0.3% to 9,681, while Lexus sold 588 vehicles, off 35.1%.


Honda Canada reported a 37% drop in sales to 7,559 units.


“The results for January reflect our expectations,” Jerry Chenkin, executive vice-president of Honda Canada said in a statement.


“Our January results last year, which were twice the monthly average, were unusual and reflected initiatives that we had introduced specially to counter the strong Canadian dollar.”