The pace of new vehicle sales increase backed off a bit in the U.S. in September, but they're still running strong in Canada. Barring some major setback in the final quarter, 2013 is on track to set an all-time sales record in this country.
Sales of 149,092 units in September were up 4.2% from the same month a year ago and fully 10% ahead of their average for the past five years. Through the first three quarters, they're 3.5% better than they were at this time last year.
Perhaps more important, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) for September was just shy of 1.8 million, the highest level since last October and the second best since April 2008, before the bottom fell out of the economy.
"Consumer confidence remains very strong (the highest since 2010) and manufacturers have terrific incentives in place to clear out 2013 models making it an ideal time for consumers to purchase a new vehicle," said David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada (formerly the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC)).
Truck sales (including CUV/SUVs) increased by 6.5% for the month, while passenger car sales were up by 1.4%. Year-to-date, light trucks represent 55.6% of total sales compared to 54.4% last year.
Compared to last year, Nissan was the biggest gainer of the mainstream brands in September, with sales up by 41.6%. Jaguar (+152.1%) and Land Rover (-54.3%) did even better.
Others with a good month included Subaru (+23.2%), Mercedes-Benz (+20.6%) and Infiniti (+19.8%).
Ford (+10.0%) continued to be the sales leader for the month, as well as the year to date, followed by Chrysler (+1.7%), General Motors (-2.6%), Toyota (+2.7%) and Honda (+8.7%).
Positions five-through-ten went to Hyundai (+2.6%), Nissan (+41.6%), Kia (-2.8%), Mazda (-16.1%) and Volkswagen (+4.3%).