Trucks fuel June vehicle sales

Record sales driven by light trucks, up by 11%.

TORONTO — DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says sales of new vehicles edged 1.2% higher last month compared with a year ago, making it the best June on record.

Canadians bought 177,857 new cars and light trucks last month – up from 175,678 in June 2014.

The record sales were driven primarily by demand for light trucks, which accelerated by 11.5% 109,400, up from 98,126 in June of last year.

Meanwhile, sales of passenger cars slipped 11.7% to 68,457 from the 77,552 cars Canadians bought a year ago.

Fiat Chrysler claimed top spot with 27,217 vehicles sold, while Ford came in second place at 26,776 vehicles.

General Motors trailed in third, selling 24,226 new vehicles in June.

DesRosiers said luxury brands experienced the highest year-over-year growth, led by Land Rover at 28.2%, Acura at 27.6%, Porshe at 25.9% and Lexus at 25.8%.

“The ongoing gains being enjoyed by luxury manufacturers in the Canadian market turned into a veritable feast in June,” the company said in a news release.

In a report earlier this week, Scotiabank analyst Carlos Gomes said lower gasoline prices have fuelled sales of luxury SUVs this year.

Gomes says luxury vehicles now make up more than 10% of new vehicle sales in Canada.

In BC, which he dubs “Canada’s luxury leader,” sales of high-end vehicles comprise 15 per cent of the overall market.

“Purchases are being driven by rising household wealth – the key driver of the luxury auto market – which is being buoyed by strong equity market performances across much of the globe and ongoing house price appreciation,” said Gomes.

Although baby boomers have been the key drivers of the luxury auto market, Gomes says upscale automakers are increasingly striving to attract younger buyers by offering smaller-sized, more affordable high-end vehicles.

“This development will be key going forward, as growth in the 30-49 year old Canadian population will begin to exceed the 50-69 year old cohort by 2017,” Gomes said.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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