Auto sales in Canada set another new record in February, surpassing the month's previous high-mark set in 2008, with 119,201 new vehicles sold. Those figures were up 9.1% from year-ago levels, almost duplicating January's 9.6% improvement to get 2016 off to a booming start.
The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) topped 1.92-million, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, again coming close to January's figure of 1.94 million. Full-year sales of just below 1.90-million in 2015 were the highest ever so these early results confirm that the sales momentum remains strong.
FCA still number one
As was the case for 2015, and for January, FCA (formerly Chrysler) topped the sales charts for the month. Its sales of 18,813 vehicles lagged well behind the overall market increase, however, up just 0.5% from last year, while second-place Ford's February sales were up by 22.4%, only about 500 units short of FCA's.
Year to date, FCA's sales lead over Ford is fewer than 2,000 vehicles, compared to more than 7,000 at this time last year, suggesting a much tighter race to ensue for the 2016 sales crown.
General Motors, in third place, made gains as well, with a sales increase of 13.9% for the month and 18.7% year-to-date.
Toyota ( 10.7%) remained unchallenged in fourth, while Honda ( 18.8%) extended its fifth-place lead over Hyundai, (-1.4%) and Nissan ( 13.3%) came within 26 units of catching the Korean brand. Kia ( 4.3%), Mazda ( 3.4%) and Volkswagen (-27.7%) – hurting from its inability t sell it diesels – completed the top ten.
Trucks and utilities set the pace
Once again, sales of trucks (including CUVs and SUVs) drove the February gains with sales up by 17.9%. Sales of passenger cars continued to decline, down 5.5% for the month. Trucks and utilities now outsell cars by a factor of more than two to one.
Sales of luxury brands were strong as well, in part because of the popularity of their SUVs. Sales of luxury leader, Mercedes-Benz were up by 23.5%, bringing them t within just 200 units of catching Volkswagen for 10th place overall.
Other luxury or near-luxury brands with sales that outpaced the market included Volvo (79.3%) – which benefitted from the arrival of the XC90 – Land Rover (49.9%), Porsche (26.0%), Audi (18.9%), Infiniti (18.6%) and BMW (11.1%).
Ford's F-Series trucks continued to be Canada's best-selling vehicles overall and Honda's Civic was still the country's best-selling passenger car.
[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants and individual automakers.]