Increased truck sales led to a 1% rise in the number of new motor vehicles sold in Canada in May to 121,348 units, data released this week shows. After falling sharply in the latter part of 2008, sales of new motor vehicles have generally been rising since the beginning of 2009.

However, preliminary industry data, Statistics Canada said, indicate that the number of new motor vehicles sold fell about 1% in June.

Sales of new trucks (which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses) were up 2.2% to 61,392 units in May. Truck sales exceeded passenger car sales in May for only the fourth time in the last 10 years.

The number of new passenger cars sold in May was down 0.3%, totalling 59,956 vehicles. Sales of North American-built passenger cars rose 1.4% from April, when sales were at their lowest level since October 1982. Sales of overseas-built passenger cars fell 2.4% in May, which did not offset the sales gain of 3.6% in April.

Higher sales were recorded in seven provinces in May. The main contributor to the increase in Canada was a 2% gain in Ontario. The largest percentage increase occurred in Nova Scotia (+8.5%), where sales rose for the fourth consecutive month.

A 1.6% advance in sales in British Columbia marked the third consecutive increase in the number of new motor vehicles sold in that province. Sales in British Columbia had been on a downward trend since early 2008.

The 1.4% sales drop in Quebec made it the only province where sales declined for a second consecutive month.