August new-vehicle sales were up again in Canada,
6.4% above those for the same month last year and 4.7% ahead of the five-year average for August.
It's the seventh month out of eight this year that sales have outpaced those of a year ago.
According to industry analyst, Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, August's SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) of 1.66-million is right in line with that of the year so far and it bodes well for a near-record annual total by year's-end, if that momentum is maintained.
A sales record of 1.72 million new vehicles was set in 2002, but it hasn't been seriously challenged since then.
As has been the case for several months, a combination of hot new product, more and better incentives, stable interest rates and keen price competition is keeping customers in a buying mode.
It's a buyer's market if ever there was one.
Imports up, Detroit Three down
Once again, import brands showed the strongest gains, with several setting all-time sales records for the month.
Collectively their sales were up by 16.5% in August, compared to a drop of 3.9% for the D3. Year to-date, import brands account for 54.7 percent of the market – up three-tenths from July and a 3.0-percent gain from this a year ago.
Honda (+49.9%) was the biggest gainer of the mainstream players as it recovers from the supply constraints initiated by last year's disasters in Japan. With an all-new Accord about to be launched, its future prospects are even more promising.
Other brands with big sales increases included: Land Rover (+44.6%), Subaru (+43.9%), Porsche (+43.4%), Volkswagen (+34.4%), Kia (+32.4%), Mini (+26.9%) and Toyota (+25.9%).
Among the Detroit Three, Chrysler's sales were up again
(+9.2%) but Ford's fell slightly (-1.8%) and General Motors' continued their deep dive. Collectively their year-to-date market share is down by to 43.5% – a 3.0-percent decline from a year ago, mostly at the hands of GM.
Some shuffling down in the sales ranks
Ford remained the clear sales leader in August and year-to-date, followed by Chrysler, GM and Toyota in that order. Honda outsold Hyundai to reclaim fifth place for the month, however, although Hyundai retains that position year-to-date.
Kia also moved up a notch to seventh place, passing Nissan by a big-enough margin for the month to take over that position for the year-to-date.
Among luxury brands, BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz in August but Mercedes maintains the lead year-to-date.
Passenger car sales (+8.7%) posted a greater rate of increase than those for trucks (+4.6%) in August, as had been the case earlier in the year. Year-to date, car sales are ahead by 8.8 percent compared to a 4.9-percent gain for trucks.
But trucks still account for 54.4 percent of the market to 45.6 percent for cars, a 0.9-percent share loss for trucks from a year ago.