Canadian auto sales set record through first half of 2017

Could we be on our way to a fifth consecutive year of record new-vehicle sales?

Published: July 5, 2017, 6:40 AM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:08 PM

Canadian auto sales maintain record pace

For the fifth time in the past six months, auto sales in Canada set a new record in June, with 203,486 new cars, trucks and utility vehicles sold, up 6.5% from the same month last year.

It’s the second consecutive month, and only the third time in history, that sales have surpassed 200,000 in a month and it pushed first-half sales past 1-million for the first time ever.

Year-to-do-date sales of 1,039,068 vehicles for the first six months are 5.0% ahead of 2016’s record first half.

Monthly sales were 15% ahead of the five-year historical average for June, according to

“Another record month in June is phenomenal,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC). “The conditions remain positive for ongoing new car sales in Canada going forward,” he added.

Despite that record first half, industry guru Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants notes that a different picture has been forming in the U.S. where new-vehicle sales have been on a downward trend for four consecutive months.

“Surpassing 2016 with yet another all-time sales record may not be a foregone conclusion, should Canada start to follow that trend in the latter half of the year,” he cautions.

Ford tops sales charts

Ford is firmly out front in the sales race, with 32,758 sales in June ( 14.1%) and 160,288 through the first half ( 7.0%). The Blue Oval brand has gained 0.3% of market share from last year, to 15.4%, and is now well clear of the second-place fight between General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Autos.

GM claimed second place for the month with 27,151 units sold ( 4.2%), edging past FCA’s 26,926 total (-3.1%). But FCA maintains a slight lead year-to-date, with 151,574 sales (-0.6%) to GM’s 150,496 ( 15.6%).

GM has gained 1.3% of share, to 14.5%, over last year, while FCA has lost 0.8% to 14.6%. It promises to be a an iteresting race for second through the remainder of the year.

Behind the top three, fourth-place Toyota’s sales were up 4.0% in June, although they’re down 0.6% through the half, with a share decline of 0.6% to 9.8%.

While still well behind, Honda is gaining ground in fifth with sales up 14.1% in June and 12.2% year-to-date – and a 0.6% increase in market share to 8.7%.

Nissan ( 12.4%) surpassed Hyundai (-15.5%) for sixth on the month and edged ahead year-to-date as well, with first-half sales up 7.8%, compared to the Korean firm’s 7.9% decline.

Kia ( 8.8%) outpaced Mazda ( 4.0%) for eighth in June, and reclaimed the spot year-to-date as well, albeit with a gain of just 1.1%, compared to Mazda’s 6.5%.

Volkswagen, with a huge 30.3% gain in June, took clear control of tenth place, and held it for the year-to-date (-10.6%) as well, leaving Subaru ( 6.1%) in 11th, followed closely by Mercedes-Benz ( 13.1%).

Winners and losers

In percentage terms, the big gainer in June was Maserati ( 104.8%), followed by Lexus ( 35.5%), Volkswagen ( 30.3%), Infiniti ( 25.1%) and Audi ( 24.3%). The only losers on the month, compared to last May, were Hyundai (-15.5%), FCA (-3.1%) and Land Rover (-1.8%).

June truck sales, including SUVs, were up 10.0% from 2016, while passenger car sales fell marginally by 0.1%. Trucks continued to account for 67.3 % of the market year-to-date, compared to 32.7% for passenger cars.

Ford’s F-Series continued to be 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.]