Light trucks and a strong domestic showing continued to propel Canadian new vehicle sales as the August total finished up 3.2 per cent from last year.
August wrapped up with 140,361 new vehicles sold, compared with 136,069 last August – this at a time of growing economic uncertainty and following a less than stellar performance in July.
“This is a very difficult market to predict,” explained auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers in his monthly sales report. “The fundamentals all point to some modest sales growth but the volatility makes all forecasts difficult. Although sales were strong in August they were still below levels achieved between 2005 to 2008, so Canada is still quite far from being a very healthy light vehicle market.”
Sales of light trucks hit 79,589, marking a 5.8-per cent jump over the tally from Aug. 2010 of 75,258. Passenger car sales slide just 0.1 per cent to 60,772 from 60,811.
The Detroit Big Three all had solid months with Chrysler up 16.6 per cent, Ford up 7.9 per cent and General Motors up 6.4 per cent.
“Since all outperformed the market all three of them picked up market share from the import nameplate side of the industry. The Detroit Three saw their sales increase by 9.5 per cent while import nameplate sales declined by 2.4 percent. And the same holds true for year to date sales with Detroit up 5.8 percent and import nameplates down by 1.8 percent,” he added.
Ford retained its spot as Canada's top-selling automaker with 25,927 vehicles sold. That total marked its best result in August in 23 years.
General Motors reported 25,045 vehicles sold, good enough for second place.
Other winners included Toyota up 10.3 per cent to 12,806 units; Hyundai up 0.9 per cent with 11,507 vehicles sold; Kia up 6.9 per cent to 5,804; Volkswagen moved 4,302 vehicles marking a 28-per cent leap; while Nissan and Mitsubishi enjoyed gains of 10.9 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
Automakers that experienced an August downturn included a 30 per cent drop for Honda to 8,060 units; Mazda fell by 12.8 per cent; the embattled Suzuki brand dropped by 55.8 per cent; and a surprising slump of 20 per cent for Subaru.
Among the luxury lines, BMW posted solid sales of 2,844 vehicles in August, marking a 4.1 per cent jump over last August. That tally was good enough to best German rival Mercedes-Benz (which saw sales decline by 3.7 per cent in August), though MB is still winning the year-to-date race.
“I have a feeling that the battle for luxury supremacy is going to come down to the wire,” DesRosiers wrote.
Audi moved into third place in the luxury segment with sales up 6.5 per cent on the month to 1,466 units and are now up 16.6 per cent year to date.
“Last year they [Audi] snuck in ahead of Lexus for the first time and this year they have passed both Lexus and Acura. Just five years ago Audi was ninth in the luxury segments.”