Auto sales in Canada continue to boom, setting an all-time record for the month in March with 175,142 units sold, up 9.3% from the same month last year. It was the third consecutive month of spectacular sales, making the first quarter of 2016 the best ever, with sales for the full period also up by 9.3 %.
It was also the third consecutive month with a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) of 1.9-million or more, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Last year’s record sales fell just short of 1.90-million so there’s already speculation of another record year in the making.
“It has been a dream start to 2016,” said Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Sales were buoyed by a resurgence in consumer confidence for the second straight month, explained David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada.
Ford topped the sales charts in March with sales of 26,432 new vehicles, an increase of 23.7% from the same month last year. The Blue Oval brand edged out FCA (formerly Chrysler), which held that position for 2015 calendar year as well as the first two months of 2016.
FCA maintains an overall lead of about 1,400 sales year-to-date, but if the present trend continues it could soon be surpassed by Ford. With March sales up by just 3.2%, FCA lagged behind the market average in March and its year-to-date sales are up just 1.6% from Q1 2015 in a market that’s up 9.3%
Ford’s year-to-date sales still lag FCA’s by about 1,400 units but they are up 20.6% from 2015 and it has gained 1.5% in market share through March, while FCA has given up 1.3% in share.
Back in third, General Motors is making gains on FCA as well, with sales up 16.5% in March and 17.7% YTD and a 1.0% improvement in market share. Collectively, the Detroit Three have regained 1.2% of market share so far this year.
Toyota ( 15.1%) also made gains in fourth place, as did Honda ( 11.8%} in fifth, further extending its lead over Hyundai, (-0.4%) and Nissan ( 12.9) in that order. Mazda (-14.0%) surpassed Kia (-10.1%) for eighth and Volkswagen (-22.6%) completed the top ten for the month, still suffering from its lack of diesels to sell and the negative publicity surrounding its diesel emissions scandal.
Trucks and utilities drive increases
Continuing a trend that has become the norm, truck and utility-vehicle sales were up by 18.2% in March compared to a decline of 4.0% for passenger cars. Year-to-date, trucks and utilities account for two-thirds (66.6%) of the market – 4.8% more than was the case just a year ago.
Luxury-vehicle sales also maintained a torrid pace, with Land Rover sales up 85.4%, Volvo 73.8% and Audi 42.9%. Mercedes-Benz ( 3.7%) was the top-selling premium brand claiming 11th place overall, ahead of more mainstream Subaru ( 4.4%) and well ahead of the second-place premium brand, BMW ( 15.2%).
[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]