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Total Canadian auto sales down, but many brands remain strong

Norris McDonald
Written by Norris McDonald

Although Denis DeRosiers, of DeRosiers Automotive Consultants, Inc., reported Wednesday that a decline in Canadian auto and light truck sales that started in March continued through July, you would never know it from the wording of various and sundry press releases issued Wednesday by the individual manufacturers.

Reported DeRosiers:

“The sales downturn that began in March has continued into July. With total sales for the month at 175,317 light vehicles, July year-over-year sales were down 3.6 per cent, which marked the largest percentage slide thus far this year.

“Light truck sales declined 1.1 per cent and passenger cars declined 9.0 per cent. Consequently, year-to-date sales remained negative, down a slight 0.7 per cent over last year with light truck sales increasing 3.3 per cent against a 9.0 per cent decrease in passenger car sales.

“However, even considering the negative overall market, there was notable strength among many brands.”

(If you are interested in more of what DeRosiers has to say on the state of the Canadian industry, you can subscribe to DesRosiers Automotive Reports published by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. For more information, contact Terry Chung at (905)881-0400 x26 or terry@desrosiers.ca)

Meantime, then,  General Motors reported that it remained Canada’s retail sales leader through July as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers delivered 20,702 vehicles (retail) and 4,524 (fleet) during the month.

This brought GM Canada’s total year-to-date deliveries to 180,163, its best total calendar-year-to-date since 2008, and maintaining their position as No. 1 in retail sales for calendar-year-to-date.

“Canadians continue to respond to our strong lineup of vehicles including our sport utilities and crossovers that deliver on style, technology and performance,” said Scott Bell, vice president, sales, service and marketing for GM Canada.

The following vehicles drove a significant part of GM’s continued retail leadership:

Chevrolet

  • Spark, up 39.7 per cent
  • Volt, up 18.4 per cent
  • Colorado, up 15.1 per cent
  • Equinox, up 13.8 per cent
  • Traverse, up 22.6 per cent

Buick

  • Encore, up 48.4 per cent
  • Enclave, up 23.7 per cent

Cadillac

  • XTS, up 38.5 per cent
  • Escalade, up 8.3 per cent

GMC

  • Canyon, up 12.1 per cent
  • Sierra HD, up 14.2 per cent
  • Volt, up 18.4 per cent
  • Colorado, up 15.1 per cent
  • Equinox, up 13.8 per cent
  • Traverse, up 22.6 per cent

In Oakville, Ford of Canada reported that F-150 sales were the best ever recorded for the month of July, helping lead the automaker to a year-over-year sales increase.

Sales of the ever-popular Ford Explorer, the first-ever EcoSport (best month since launch), Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid (a 162 per cent increase, which is the best July on record) and Ford Commercial Vehicles (best July on record) were also strong last month.

Lincoln utilities had another solid month, led by sales increases for Lincoln Navigator (up 41 per cent) and MKC (up 17 per cent).

Windsor, Ont., headquartered FCA Canada reported sales of 15,652 vehicles.

For the calendar year, Jeep brand sales of 48,083 vehicles are up 8 per cent compared with the same time, one year ago. Leading the way for the brand is Jeep Wrangler with 18,017 vehicles sold to date in 2018. These results represent the best Jeep Wrangler sales in the Company’s history at this point in the calendar year. Further, Jeep Compass sales of 6,425 are up 108 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The Windsor-built Chrysler Pacifica saw its sales increase in the month of July 2018 to 484 vehicles, up 53 per cent compared with July 2017, and setting a monthly record. For the second consecutive year, Chrysler Pacifica took the top spot among all minivans in J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Dodge brand reported total sales of 3,031 vehicles. Dodge recently announced a new Challenger Scat Pack 1320, a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car designed with the grassroots drag racer in mind.

Ram truck brand reported sales of 5,798 vehicles for the month.

Alfa Romeo brand sales of 92 vehicles were up 12 per cent compared with the same month a year ago.

The Canadian Nissan Group announced total Canadian sales of 12,717 units in July 2018, a decrease of 0.6 per cent. The Infiniti Division saw record sales for the month of July with 1,124 units sold, an increase of 14.6 per cent over 2017. The Nissan Division sold 11,593 units in July, a decrease of 1.8 per cent.

Faced with high gas prices over the past few months, more Canadians have been turning to hybrid electric vehicles as a solution. Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) reported record overall hybrid vehicle sales in July, with 2,079 units sold, up 9.2 oer cent compared with July 2017. Electrified vehicles represented 11 per cent of the company’s total sales in July.

Overall, TCI reported total sales of 18,698 units during the month of July, down 1.4 per cent compared with 2017. The Lexus luxury division reported a total of 1,834 units sold, down 9.1 per cent compared with 2017.

Honda Canada Inc. reported July sales of 18,455 Honda and Acura vehicles, down 0.5 percent from the previous year. The Honda Automobile Division reported July sales of 16,693 units sold, down 0.9 percent from the previous year, while the Acura Division reported July sales of 1,762 units, up 3.6 percent versus last year.

With 598 units delivered in the month of July, Outlander PHEV leads the plug-in hybrid segment with more plug-in hybrids sold year-to-date than any other nameplate helping Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada to achieve its 6th consecutive best month sales record. Total sales for the month jumped 12 per cent with 2,320 deliveries.

Mitsubishi RVR reached 409 sales, followed by Outlander at 362 deliveries. Eclipse Cross rounded out Mitsubishi Motors SUV sales with 354 deliveries for the month of July.

In the company’s car offerings, the Lancer family of sedans pulled through 360 sales, followed by 237 deliveries of the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact hatchback and G4 sedan recent Vincentric Fleet Best Value Award winners.

Thus far in 2018, the company’s sales volume in Canada is up 17 per cent versus 2017.

Impressive sales continued this summer for Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI), with outstanding July results contributing to yet more sales records. SCI finished the month with 5,044 units sold, a 13.2 per cent increase compared to last July. Overall, year-to-date sales are at 32,920 units, marking a 6.6 per cent increase over the same period last year.

The all-new 2019 Ascent three-row SUV contributed its share of sales with 398 units sold, while the Crosstrek and Legacy showed extremely strong sales, marked by 24.3 per cent and 18.5 per cent sales increases, respectively, over last July. Forester, Impreza and Outback also had higher sales compared to last year.

Finally, Jaguar Land Rover Canada today reported July 2018 sales results. Jaguar Land Rover sold 1,126 units, the best July total ever, surpassing the previous record set in 2017 by two per cent.

“Another solid result for the brands, our employees and our retail partners,” said Santino Pirillo, Vice-President, Sales, Jaguar Land Rover Canada, ULC,

“The Range Rover Sport has been selling incredibly well this year and is our overall sales leader since January. It led the way again along with strong results for Range Rover and the Range Rover Velar. The Jaguar brand was bolstered by F-PACE and XE sales in July.”

According to a release, this was the best July ever for Land Rover. Retail sales totalled 786 units. This total was an improvement of 52 units, a seven per cent YOY increase. Range Rover Sport led the way with 277 units sold, a 26 per cent increase. The Range Rover also performed well selling 114 units. The Range Rover Velar sold well, adding 150 units to the Land Rover total.