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Canadian auto sales show year over year decline in March: DesRosiers

Total number of vehicles sold for the month: 186,447, down from 187,540 in March last year.


TORONTO — Canadian sales of cars and light trucks were down 0.6% in March compared with the same month last year but remained high by historical trends, according to industry statistics compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

The total number of vehicles sold in March was 186,447, the second-highest for the month since at least 2011, but down from 187,540 in March 2017.

General Motors performed relatively well compared with the other Detroit-based manufacturers, selling 30,159 vehicles under various name plates, a slight increase of 0.1 per cent from March 2017.

By contrast, Ford’s Canadian sales were down 1.6% to 26,050 and Fiat Chrysler’s were down 7.7% to 24,490.

But sales of Toyota-branded vehicles was up 9.7% to 18,954, and sales of European brands Volvo, Volkswagen and its luxury affiliate Audi were up by double-digits from smaller bases.

General Motors said it would stop announcing its sales figures on a monthly basis and begin issuing them quarterly starting with the months of April through June.

Dennis DesRosiers, whose company compiles the Canadian sales figures, said in an e-mail that he’d prefer to see them released on a monthly basis.

“Sales is arguably the most important performance metric so there are a lot of companies that will be quite upset if they don’t at least continue reporting privately to each of the other companies,” DesRosiers said.

“One in seven jobs in Canada and one in six in Ontario are dependent directly or indirectly on the automotive industry, so isn’t it somewhat important to have regular reporting of the most important metric in the industry?”

Representatives of Ford Canada and Fiat Chrysler said in e-mails that they haven’t changed their policy on releasing figures on a monthly basis.

March was the first month of 2018 to show a year-over-year decline in overall sales, according to figures compiled by the consulting group, which is based in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Sales of passenger cars were down 12.4% to 53,932, from 61,557 a year earlier, more than off-setting an increase in light truck sales. Light truck sales were up 5.2% to 132,515 last month, from 125,993 in March 2017.

The first-quarter total was 429,258 vehicles light trucks and cars sold, up 1.8% from the comparable period last year.

Light trucks accounted for nearly three-quarters of the vehicles sold during the three-month period, rising 6.4% from a year ago to 308,072. Car sales were down 8.2% to 121,186, DesRosiers reports.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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