On the way to possibly reaching record volume for the year, Canadian automobile dealers retailed 135,001 new cars and light trucks in October, a gain of 7.7% on a daily basis from the 125,407 units sold in like-2011.

While that was 5.5% fewer LVs than were delivered in September, it was the second-best October volume ever, just 2.5% shy of the record 138,460 units sold in 1985.

Despite a 14.0% decline from September, Ford retained its market leadership, posting a 6.2% increase from year-ago. It outdistanced second-place General Motors by 7.7%, crediting in part record Escape cross/utility vehicle sales, a major increase in Focus small-car deliveries and strong demand for the F-150 pickup.

Despite posting its 35th consecutive monthly year-over-year increase to 177,333 vehicles, Chrysler battled it out with Toyota for third position, beating its Japanese rival by just 232 units.

The strong October performance puts the industry on track to match or exceed 2002’s record 1,731,823 deliveries, including medium and heavy trucks, according to Canadian analyst Dennis DesRosiers. It would represent only the second time vehicle sales in Canada topped the 1.7 million mark, he points out.