There's a tight race at the top of the sales charts in the Canadian automobile market. Chrysler was the best-selling automaker in April, the third time it has led monthly sales in the first four months of 2012.
But through those first four months, Chrysler leads Ford by just over 600 units in total, with each having sold almost 80,000 cars and trucks.
Chrysler claimed 15.37% of the market during that period to Ford's 15.25%. General Motors ranked third (13.66% market share), Toyota fourth (10.55%), Hyundai fifth (8.40%) and Honda sixth (7.79%).
Chrysler's market share is up 0.50% from the same period last year, while Ford's is down 1.51% and GM's 1.59%.
Toyota has now clawed back more than a full percent of share from its 2011 calendar year level, although it remains well short of its 13.0-percent 2009 peak.
Honda has regained 0.8-percent of share from this time last year – the greatest improvement of any company.
Kia (+18.2%) and Mercedes-Benz (+18.7%) were the greatest year-over-year gainers among the volume players, in April. And both gained share, year-to-date, as well – 0.47 % and 0.12% respectively.
Mazda (-6.9% for the month) has also regained 0.40-percent of share, year-to-date, and Nissan (-5.9% for the month) has gained 0.32-percent of share.
Overall sales down in April
Collectively, import brand sales held steady (0.0%) in April, relative to last year, while those of the Detroit Three fell (-3.1%), primarily because of a decline in truck sales (-3.4%).
Import-brand sales claimed 54.3 percent of the market, to the D3’s 45.7 percent, year-to-date.
Continuing the trend of recent months, passenger car sales were up, albeit slightly (0.9%), and they continue to nibble away at truck's share dominance. Year-to-date, trucks account for 54.3-percent of the market to cars' 43.7 percent – a 3.8-percent swing from a year ago.
For the first time since last September, the total number of new vehicle sales in Canada during April fell below the level for the same month in 2011 – by 1.4.
Sales were also below the past-five-year average for the month, by 1.1 percent – the first time that number has gone negative since last August.
In addition to a reduction in absolute numbers, April also experienced a drop in SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), to just below 1.6 million, from above 1.7 million for the first three months of the year (per DesRosiers Automotive Consultants).