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Spring heats up auto sales in Canada

General Motors was the top seller in April for the first time since October, 2011

Published: May 4, 2015, 8:35 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:00 PM

2015 - Upturned graph

Canadians just keep on buying new cars and trucks. For the fourth month in a row, new-vehicle sales in Canada set a new monthly record in April.

They also signalled a significant upturn in the sales rate, compared to that for the first quarter of 2015, and saw a new but familiar name on top of the sales charts.

Best April sales ever

Just landed car lot

Sales of 189,072 new cars and trucks were up 5.7% from last April and 15.6% above the average for the past five years, raising the year-to-date average to 3.7% above that for the same period last year. The year-to-date rate was 2.7% through the first quarter.

Just as important for manufacturers and dealers, the annualized sales rate for April jumped to 19.1 million – the highest it has been since last October. In spite of record sales figures, the annualized monthly rate had been on the decline since then, falling to about 1.7 million in March.

Total sales of 1.85 million in 2014 were the best ever.

General Motors back on top

For the first time since October 2011, General Motors was the top-selling automaker in April. Sales of 29,127 vehicles were up 14.5% from last year, putting GM well ahead of FCA ( 1.0%), in second, and third-place Ford (-0.1%). It was the company's best April since 2009. FCA (formerly Chrysler) continues to be the top seller year-to-date, with Ford in second.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali

Toyota remained comfortably in fourth place while Hyundai and Honda continued in their tight race for fifth. Hyundai ( 1.5%) prevailed, edging out Honda ( 5.6%) by just 78 vehicles. Year-to-date, Hyundai leads Honda by just over 1,000 vehicles.

Nissan ( 9.0%) continues to hold a hot hand, ahead of Volkswagen ( 23.5%), Mazda (-1.5%) and Kia (-3.3%). And Subaru ( 17.1%) had its highest monthly sales ever.

Luxury brands and trucks make gains

As a group, the greatest percentage sales gains came from luxury brands. Porsche ( 47.8%) led the way, followed by BMW ( 36.8%), Audi ( 36.6%), Lexus (31.9%), Volvo ( 27.7%) and Mercedes-Benz ( 27.1%).

Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star

Mercedes-Benz, with its best April sales ever, continued to be the clear luxury-class sales leader, almost 3,000 vehicles ahead of second-place BMW year-to-date.

Continuing a now long-standing trend, truck/SUV sales ( 8.5%) continued to outpace those of passenger cars ( 2.0%). They accounted for 58.0% of all vehicle sales in April and 60.6 % year to date.

The Ford F-series continued its reign as the best-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall in April, and the Honda Civic maintained its position as the best-selling passenger car.