Trucks drive Canadian auto sales in May

Moneymakers for OEMs gained 7.9% from previous year.

June 4, 2013

Strong sales of Dodge Ram trucks power Chrysler results.

Photo: Chrysler

TORONTO — Strong demand for trucks helped many Canadian automakers boost their sales in May as they entered into the peak selling season, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Sales of light vehicles in Canada totalled 185,040 last month, up 5.3% from the 175,716 sold last May.

Year to date, sales are up 2.4% to 712,059, compared with 695,451 a year ago.

The largest gain was in truck sales, which climbed 7.9% to 98,993, from 91,710 in May 2012.

Tony Faria, co-director of the Office of Automotive Research at the University of Windsor, says that’s good news for automakers.

“It’s the truck that makes the big margins for them,” said Faria. “So certainly while they’d like to do as well in cars, if they’re going to sell more vehicles, all of the companies would rather sell more trucks.”

Faria said low interest rates, the availability of credit and incentives from auto companies should keep sales strong throughout the summer months.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada took the top spot, selling 32,490 vehicles – 0.5% more than the 32,338 it sold in May 2012. Year to date, Ford’s sales are up 5.7% to 117,987.

While Ford saw its car sales slip 8.9% to 8,953, truck sales rose 4.6% to 23,537, compared with 22,509 a year earlier.

Chrysler Canada took second place, selling 12% more vehicles this May compared to the previous year, but still falling short of Ford’s total.

Chrysler sold 29,249 vehicles last month, compared to 26,218 a year ago, helped by strong sales of its Ram trucks and passenger cars.

GM Canada sold 23,654 vehicles last month, a 1.6% gain from the 23,287 sold in May 2012.

Truck sales grew by 0.5% to 15,419, while car sales grew by 3.6% to 8,235.

Toyota Canada Inc. sold 22,250 vehicles in May, including its Lexus and Scion brands. That’s 12.3% more than the Japanese automaker sold in May 2012.

Toyota Canada’s truck sales totalled 8,550 for the month, a gain of 14.2%, while Lexus sales grew 11.9% to 1,566 and Scion sales were up 62.9% to 601.

Honda Canada Inc. sold 16,723 vehicles, including in its Acura division, up 22% from last May.

“The spring selling season is underway and this is the type of momentum we really like to see,” said Honda’s vice president of sales and marketing Dave Gardner in a statement.
Meanwhile, Kia Canada Inc. saw its sales decline to 7,558 in May, 10.7% lower than May 2012.

Nissan’s Canadian sales were also down in May.

The automaker sold 8,367 vehicles, 9.1% lower than last May’s total of 9,204.
Sales at its Infiniti division were down 11.8% to 733.

BMW’s sales were down 13.2%, while Mercedes-Benz was down 3.1% compared to a year earlier.

“With the exceptions of Audi and Porsche, German luxury brands experienced uninspiring May sales,” DesRosiers said in a note.

May auto sales: Honda and Subaru up; Mazda down

© 2013 The Canadian Press