Canadian car sales slumped last month as cautious consumers found little motivation to buy new vehicles.

Analysts told Reuters headline-making oil prices coupled with high insurance costs were partly to blame for deterring some consumers from showrooms.

"The traditional safety valve of consumer incentives and high leasing rates is coming back to haunt the market," independent industry consultant Dennis Desrosiers reportedly said. "The theory with these safety valves is that you steal sales from the future with great pricing. Well, at some point the future becomes today."

Reuters said Desrosiers noted that extra sales from a year or two ago may have been sales that could occur now, and described total monthly sales for the industry as "dismal."

Total sales were down 6.7% in August compared with the same month last year. On the year to date, sales are down 4.9%, the report added.

According to Reuters, General Motors of Canada, the country's biggest automaker, said total monthly sales fell 11.4% to 40,731 vehicles in August. Car sales were down 7.6% and light truck sales  declined 15.2% over the same month last year.

DaimlerChrysler Canada reported a 3.2% decline in total sales to 14,523. A 7.9% retreat in truck sales offset a 13.7% gain in car sales.

Ford Motor of Canada said total sales fell 11.9% to 16,127 units. Truck sales were off 10.3% while car sales fell 16.7%.

Toyota Canada, which has been on a record-setting pace all year, said its total sales stumbled last month, falling 5.2% to 14,700 vehicles, Reuters added.

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