Auto sales records have become a ho-hum occurrence in Canada of late but none has achieved the level of this April’s results. Not only were sales the greatest for any April ever, they were the greatest for any month ever!
Total sales of 200,327 cars, trucks and SUVs – up 6.0% from April 2015 – marked the first time ever that sales topped 200,000 in a month, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC).
Year-to-date sales of 603,233 units – up 8.2% from last year – also set an all-time record for the period.
David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, credited a slightly better economic outlook, a stronger Canadian dollar and aggressive sales incentives as contributors to the stellar sales results.
In addition to record numbers, the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR), which had been on the decline for the past three months in spite of record sales levels, turned around in April, vaulting past 2-million units-per-year for the first time since last October.
There are some qualifiers, however. DAC’s Dennis DesRosiers notes that last year’s first quarter sales were “somewhat soft” so the percentage increases this year may not be quite as dramatic as they seem. In addition, fleet sales are very strong right now and cross-border sales are also said to be growing rapidly, all of which could help artificially inflate overall Canadian sales numbers. Retail sales to consumers in Canada might actually be down slightly, he suggests
While DesRosiers doesn’t believe this pace will hold for the rest of the year, he does predict that 2016 will set another annual sales record, based on the strength of the first four months’ sales, which put current totals more than 45,000 ahead of last year.
Trucks drive the market
Once again, it was truck and utility vehicle sales that drove the April sales increase. They were up by 16.3% for the month, while passenger car sales declined by 8.4%. Year-to-date, trucks and utilities now command 65.1% of the market – a 5.1% increase from this period last year.
Ford claims top spot
As it did the previous month, Ford topped the sales charts in April, but not by much. Its 30,311 sales ( 11.0% from April 2015) were just 203 units more than Fiat Chrysler Auto’s ( 9.6%). Year-to-date, Ford’s sales are up 17.2% from 2015, compared to FCA’s 4.1% gain. But FCA still leads year-to-date tally by 1,170 units.
Ales for third-place General Motors fell by 8.7% in April, although they’re still up 7.5% year-to-date. Collectively, the Detroit Three have gained 0.6% of market share so far this year, with Ford up by 1.2%, FCA down 0.6%, and GM even with its 2015 share.
With sales gains of 15.9% in April, fourth-place Toyota was the biggest gainer of the mainstream brands, bumping its year-to-date increase to 12.6%, an improvement second only to Ford among the volume brands,
In fifth place, Honda sales increased by 8.7%, followed in ranking order by Hyundai, (0.6%), Nissan ( 7.8%), Kia ( 7.6%), Mazda ( 2.2%) and Volkswagen ( 6.6%), which turned around its recent declines.
[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]