* Overall Canadian sales down 3.5 percent in September
* Ford sales up for fourth consecutive month
Ford Motor Co of Canada (F.N) bucked the trend in September, posting comfortably higher auto sales as the broader Canadian industry continued to slide.
Auto sales in Canada fell for an 11th straight month, industry figures showed on Thursday, but Ford Canada managed to post its fourth consecutive month of gains, rounding out its strongest quarterly sales increase in six years.
Overall Canadian sales were down 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 129,503 units, as the market continued to slowly rebound from much steeper declines earlier in the year, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.
In the United States, auto sales dropped more than 20 percent as customers stopped going to showrooms after the U.S. government ended its cash for clunkers incentive program, which helped revive sales this summer.
The Canadian government did not have a similar program, but in recent weeks Ford, General Motors [GM.UL] and others started their own incentive programs in Canada to try to win back customers.
Ford, which offers up to C$3,000 ($2,800) towards a new vehicle in its Recycle Your Ride program, has been enjoying some success, David Mondragon, Ford Canada's president and chief executive, said in an interview.
It's bringing in incremental sales to the Ford brand; nearly 55 percent of sales under this program are new customers to the Ford brand.
Ford was the only Detroit-based auto company not to rely on government aid to survive the brutal industry downturn.
Ford Canada's September sales were up 24.3 percent to 16,159. Car sales rose 33.2 percent, while trucks were up 21.4 percent.
Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, said in a note that Ford's greater financial strength relative to its competitors was a factor in its success, but that product was the key.
Ford has clearly shown, if you get your product right then it is possible to turn around market share losses and actually grow market share, he said.
Ford's Mondragon said the company's third-quarter results for Canada were up 26 percent on a year over year basis.
Chrysler Canada (FIA.MI), which exited bankruptcy in June, also saw its car sales climb, but not enough to outweigh a slide in trucks, which dragged down its overall numbers.
Chrysler said total sales dropped 7.3 percent year-on-year to 15,857 units. The company said that, due mainly to the strength of its Brampton, Ontario-built Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, passenger car sales rose 18.7 percent to 3,503 units. Truck sales fell 12.8 percent, to 12,354.
General Motors remained the No. 1 automaker in Canada, with 23,778 units sold, although that was down 23.4 percent from September 2008. GM's car sales plunged 52.4 percent while truck sales rose 5.3 percent.
Toyota Canada Inc's (7203.T) sales fell 9.5 percent from a year ago to 17,569 units. The automaker's Toyota division recorded an 11.1 percent sales drop, while the luxury Lexus brand rose 11.3 percent.
Honda Canada Inc (7267.T) sold 12,399 units in September, a 17 percent drop from last year. Sales in the Honda division fell by 12 percent, while the Acura division was down 45 percent year-on-year.
($1=$1.08 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)