It was a hot summer at Canada's car dealers as many automakers reported record sales for August, the second month that sales have reached new monthly highs.

Canadian sales in August were up 6.5 per cent from last year, with car sales increasing by 7.2 per cent and light truck sales up 5.9 per cent, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants and released Wednesday.

Automakers have sold 1.2 million units in Canada so far this year, up from 1.16 million at the same point last year.

"The gains were broad-based, with seven manufacturers reporting double-digit increases, partly due to the popularity of new fuel-efficient crossover utility vehicles," said Scotiabank auto analyst Carlos Gomes in an analysis of the numbers.

Gomes estimated that in August, auto purchases reached an annualized rate of 1.78 million units, compared to 1.73 million from January to July.

45th month of growth for Chrysler

The Big Three automakers all said that their light-vehicle sales rose in August. The Canadian arms of Chrysler and Ford both reported seven per cent increases in vehicle sales last month while General Motors put its August retail sales tally at five per cent above last year's.

Chrysler, which saw its passenger car sales improve by 20 per cent in August, said the overall monthly increase marked the 45th consecutive month of growth for the company.

Ford's increase was led by the Fiesta, which saw its sales climb 84 per cent year-over year, and the Fusion, whose sales increased by 57 per cent.

Honda Canada said its August sales jumped 20 per cent over the same month last year.

"August sales continued what's been a very strong summer for Honda Canada," Honda Canada vice-president Dave Gardner said in a statement. 

On a year-to-date basis, Honda's Civic model remained the best-selling passenger car in Canada, with 41,836 sold.

Subaru Canada reported its August sales jumped almost 25 per cent over last year's while Nissan reported its best August ever in Canada, with sales up 29.4 per cent from the same month last year. Mercedes-Benz Canada also reported its best-ever August sales. 

July also a record month

Mazda Canada said its sales were up five per cent over last August, with the compact Mazda3 driving the bulk of that increase. More than 60 per cent of those models were equipped with Mazda's SkyActiv fuel-efficient technology, the company said. 

Toyota Canada and Kia Canada both posted a slight decrease in sales in August.

July had also been a record month for Canadian automakers. Data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said 158,993 new vehicles were sold in July. That beat the previous July record, which was set back in 2005.

Gomes estimates that for the year overall, Canadian auto sales will reach a record high of 1.72 million units, surpassing the 2002 peak of 1.70 million.

U.S. sales could hit 6-year high

U.S. sales were also strong in August, with many automakers reporting double-digit sales increases compared to August 2012. Final sales figures for last month are still being calculated, but it appears that August could be the industry's best month in the U.S. in six years.

GM said sales were up 15 per cent over the same month a year ago. At Toyota, sales were up a robust 23 per cent.

Sales of small cars and pickup trucks were particularly strong.

"The auto industry continues to be a bright spot in the economic recovery," said Toyota group vice-president Bill Fay in a statement.

"August capped a great summer for new vehicle sales."

The average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads today is a record 11.4 years, according to the Polk research firm. That translates into more people having to replace their old cars and trucks that they kept through the recession.A

With files from The Canadian Press