PLANT

Canadian auto sales cruising to a near record

1.6M sold in first 11 months, Ford with strong November sales.


TORONTO — Canadian auto sales are on the road to besting their 2011 performance, with sales for the first 11 months of the year up 6.5% to nearly 1.6 million vehicles, according to an industry watcher.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said year-to-date vehicle sales in Canada rose to 1.57 million with one month left in the year.

“A solid December is widely expected, and Canada has a chance at breaching the 1.7 million unit mark, potentially making 2012 one of the best-ever years for new vehicle sales in this country,” Dennis DesRosiers said in a report.

“We suspect that the market will come in just shy of record levels, but second best on record is very likely. And there should be more to come over the next few years as the market is expected to continue to grow.”

Sales have only broken the 1.7 million mark in one year, 2002, when about 25,000 of those vehicles were sold to Americans buying because of favourable exchange rates.

Gas prices have been a key concern for cost-conscious buyers and that’s helped push growth in the smaller, more fuel-efficient car category higher than in the truck segment. November car sales rose 7.6%, while truck sales were up just 1%.

For the year, car sales were up 10%, compared to 4% for trucks. Still, more trucks have been sold than cars so far this year and truck sales comprise 54.6% of the market.

Ford Canada is on the road to taking the title of Canada’s best-selling automaker of 2012, after reporting strong November sales that put it in first place for another month.

The big three Detroit automaker said November sales rose to 19,447, up 7.4% from a year ago, marking its best November since 2001. Car sales at the automaker rose 14%, while truck sales were up 6%.

Sales highlights include:

• For the first 11 months of 2012, Ford’s Canadian sales rose 1% to 259,194 vehicles from 256,597 in 2011.

• Chrysler Canada said it sold 17,013 vehicles last month, up 5% from November 2011, when the company sold 16,244, falling behind GM sales for the month.

• At GM Canada, November sales slipped 3.2% to 17,372. Year-to-date sales, however, are down 5.5% to 212,202.

• Foreign nameplates continue to gain traction against the Detroit players and now hold about 55% of the market.

• Japanese automaker Toyota Canada said November sales of 14,512 Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles fell just slightly from 14,563 sold last November. However, year-to-date Toyota sales are up 21.1% from last year, when the company was struggling to pump out supply after Japan’s devastating tsunami in March.

• Honda Canada’s Honda and Acura divisions combined saw sales fall 2% over last year to 12,435 units, but a year-to-date increased 21%.

• Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. said year-over-year sales grew 20% to 10,101 units for the best November in its history. Hyundai has sold 128,420 vehicles in Canada year-to-date, a gain of 4.6% over the first 11 months of last year.

• Suburu Canada sales climbed to 2,727 units, up 35.5% over the same period last year.

• Mazda Canada said November sales totalled 5,220, which represents an increase of 1% compared to November 2011.

• South Korean automaker Kia reported its best November ever with sales up to 5,719 vehicles, a 17.8% year-over-year increase. For the first 11 months of the year, sales are up 19.7%.

• Porsche sales were up 164% and Audi sales rose 30%.

© 2012 The Canadian Press