2012 Canadian auto sales to be flat: GM

The head of General Motors Canada says he expects auto sales in Canada to be flat or slightly down in 2012.

January 9, 2012   by CANADIAN PRESS

DETROIT: The head of General Motors Canada says he expects auto sales in Canada to be flat or slightly down in 2012.

Kevin Williams said Canadian consumers are being very cautious with spending on big purchases as confidence in the world economy remains shaky.

Speaking from the Detroit auto show, Williams said sales are growing more slowly in Canada than in the United States and other markets around the world. However, he believes GM Canada will be able to seize the opportunity to improve this year and recover from flagging sales and a market share loss in 2011.

Williams said the 2011 losses came as the automaker continued to phase out its Pontiac brand as part of its restructuring.

The auto industry saw 2% growth in 2011, its best year since the recession.
GM and Chrysler required government bailouts in 2009 to stay afloat.

Automakers will unveil more than 40 new cars and trucks this month at the industry’s annual Detroit trade show that is expected to demonstrate three trends: fuel-efficient cars with more style and safety features; trendy subcompacts for younger buyers; and small luxury sedans.

Some highlights:

• Ford will unveil a redone version of its top-selling Fusion midsize sedan. The new model, which goes on sale this fall, will feature a sharper, more chiselled design and a warning system to alert drivers when they drift into another lane. It’s the first time such a system has been on a non-luxury car, Ford says.

• Honda, normally a top-seller of midsize cars, will unveil a new Accord coupe, a model that will foreshadow the looks of its new sedan due in showrooms later this year.

• The Dodge Dart, introduced in 1960, reappears as a small car, the first vehicle jointly designed by Chrysler and its Italian owner, Fiat SpA.

• Volkswagen will debut a hybrid version of the Jetta and GM will unveil a new Malibu.

• Look for smaller luxury sedans. Cadillac, BMW and Acura all plan to unveil new small cars. Hyundai will launch a new Genesis Coupe, aiming for luxury buyers who want to spend less.

• Ford’s Lincoln brand, which is being overhauled, will give a big hint about its new direction with a concept version of the MKZ midsize car, the new version going on sale later this year.

• The swooping Lexus LF-LC hybrid sports car concept that was crafted in Toyota’s California design studio will be on display.

• Subcompacts will include Toyota’s new Prius C hybrid, the Mini Roadster convertible, the sporty Chevrolet Sonic RS and a turbocharged version of the new Hyundai Veloster.

• Smart will debut the For-Us concept, an electric pickup truck that is so tiny it could fit in the bed of a regular truck.

• Chevrolet will show off two concept cars. No details on those yet, but they’re expected to have high gas mileage and enough room to haul friends around.

© 2012 The Canadian Press

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