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2016 is best year ever for auto sales in Canada

After losing the top spot to FCA last year, Ford regained the #1 position for 2016

Published: January 5, 2017, 11:40 AM
Updated: December 22, 2017, 1:11 PM

2016 Auto Sales

As has been expected for several months 2016 was the best year ever for new-vehicle sales in Canada – the fourth record year in a row.

Total sales of 1,948,899 new cars, trucks and SUVs were up 2.6% and almost 50,000 units from last year’s record tally, topping 1.9 million for the first time ever.

“It is absolutely stunning for the industry to reach the 1.95 million mark in vehicle sales,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC).  “It was not that long ago that 1.6 million units was considered an exceptional volume and 2016 has tracked 22% higher than those ‘exceptional’ volume levels.”

The record market in 2016 was based on three distinct underpinnings, according to Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) – “SUVs, pickups and luxury vehicles.”

Over the full year, trucks and SUVs claimed 66.0% of the market, compared to 62.3% in 2015. And, for the first time in a single month, they accounted for more than 70% of the market in December (70.3%).

In spite of those exceptional 2016 results, there are indications that the four-year period of sales growth may have peaked. Sales results have been down for five of the past six months, compared to the same period the year before, and December’s seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) of about 1.7 million was the lowest since March 2015, according to DAC figures.

Ford is #1

After losing the top spot to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in 2015, Ford reclaimed the #1 position in 2016 with a 9.3% increase to 304,445 sales – topping 300,000 for the first time ever in Canada.

Ford emblem

That figure surpassed FCA’s total of 277,445 units – down 5.3% – by 27,000 vehicles. General Motors was again the third-best seller in Canada with 267,341 sales, an increase of 1.5% from 2015 and a gain of almost 20,000 units on second-place FCA.

Ford claimed a 15.6% share of the market ( 0.9%), FCA 14.5% (-1.2%) and GM 13.7% (-0.2%).

Fourth-place Toyota ( 4.4%) and fifth-place Honda ( 6.4%) both improved their market shares, by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Sixth-through-tenth places on the sales chart were claimed by Hyundai ( 1.8%), Nissan ( 2.9%), Kia ( 5.6%), Mazda (-3.5%) and Volkswagen (-14.7%). Subaru ( 7.7%) had its best year ever to pass Mercedes-Benz ( 6.0%) – the best-selling luxury brand – for 11th place overall.

Along with Ford, Audi, BMW, Honda, Hyundai/Genesis, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, and Subaru had their best years ever in 2016. Only Acura, FCA, Mazda, Mini and Volkswagen suffered sales declines.

As has become the norm, Ford’s F-Series was the best-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall, while the Honda Civic was the best-selling passenger car.

[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]