Light vehicle sales totalled 149,301, up from 140,361 a year ago.
The big U.S. automakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, were the top three selling manufacturers for the month, finishing first, second and third respectively.
However, the Big 3 saw their combined sales for the month slip 3.9 per cent compared with a year ago. Sales of imports, mostly from Asia and Europe, gained 16.5 per cent compared with August 2011.
The sales results come as Ford, GM and Chrysler continue contract talks with the Canadian Auto Workers union.
Ford claimed top spot for August as it sold 25,446 vehicles for the month, but that was down 1.8 per cent from a year ago when it sold 25,920.
Total sales at General Motors of Canada were down 15.9 per cent compared to last August as the automaker posted gains in the compact and crossover markets.
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealers reported 21,070 deliveries last month, the company said.
Chrysler Canada was the only major U.S. automaker to post a gain in August with sales up nine per cent from a year ago — their highest mark for the month since 2000.
The automaker said Tuesday that it sold 20,569 vehicles last month, up from 18,816 in August 2011. The increase was largely driven by car sales, which climbed 84 per cent from a year ago. Total truck sales increased 1.7 per cent.
"With the (new) ... Dodge Dart just starting to arrive across Canada, we're positioned for even further growth," said Dave Buckingham, Chrysler Canada's chief operating officer.
Japanese automakers, whose sales and production were crippled after last year's earthquake and tsunami, continued to see a strong bounce back from a year ago.
Toyota saw its Canadian sales jump 26 per cent, while its luxury nameplate Lexus gained nearly 19 per cent.
Honda Canada sales increased nearly 50 per cent compared with a year ago to 12,081, up from 8,060 a year ago. Acura sales climbed 9.2 per cent to 1,582, up from 1,449.
Nissan Canada Inc. bucked the trend and reported a drop in August sales as buyers slowed the purchase of the Japanese automaker's trucks.
The company reported combined sales at its Nissan and Infiniti division totalled 6,329 vehicles, down 14.7 per cent from 7,421 as Nissan truck sales fell 44 per cent compared with a year ago.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Canada reported August sales up 34 per cent from a year ago. The German automaker said it sold 5,782 vehicles for the month, up from 4,302 a year ago.
Kia Canada sold 7,682 new vehicles, up 32 per cent compared with August 2011, led by the Rio.
"The Rio subcompact, Sorento SUV and Forte compact continue to be vehicle lines of strength for Kia Canada's product portfolio and represent three very competitive segments," said Robert Staffieri, Kia Canada's director of marketing.
"These three vehicles, along with the rest of our model lineup, continue to attract repeat and conquest customers as we have experienced a 20.7 per cent year-to-date increase, outpacing the industry average."