November sales slip 2.9 per cent, Toyota nabs tops

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While not a great posting, a slide of just under 3 per cent for Canadian auto sales in November compared to a year before shows signs of promise on the horizon.

It was a little over a year ago that sales plummeting amid word of a credit crisis and looming recession. Given that auto sales were already weak this time last year, industry observers were hoping for a little more action last month.

Total vehicle sales went from 150,221 to 105,122 last month. As has been the trend for much of the year, that loss is shared between a few automakers experiencing large losses while a handful of others continue to shine in spite of the rough marketplace.

Novmber also saw Toyota take top spot in terms of market share for the first time – a spot perennially held by General Motors.

Data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants lists Toyota and Lexus enjoying an increase of 26 per cent. The boost is owed to a boom in light truck sales for the Japanese automaker, which were up 54 per cent.

Other big winners this month include:
Hyundai: 7,022 units in November, up 26.2 per cent
Volkswagen: 3,190 units in November, up 12.3 per cent
Audi: 1,086 units in November, up 47.4 per cent
Mercedes-Benz: 2,071 units in November, up 26.4 per cent
BMW: 2,083 units in November, up 13.6 per cent
Nissan: 4,749 units in November, up 6 per cent.
Infiniti: 563 units in November, up 25.1 per cent.
Kia: 3,464 units in November, up 28.2 per cent
Mazda: 5,117 units in November, up 1.9 per cent
Subaru: 2,215 units in November, up 50.4 per cent.

As for the domestics, Ford, which had previously enjoyed the top sales spot twice this year, experienced a decline of a little over 1 per cent to 15,895. Thought the tally was still enough to beat GM again in volume as the General sold 14,958 vehicles in November – a 26 per cent decline from a year earlier.

Chrysler mirrored its Detroit rival, also posting a 26 per cent decline compared to last year with 11,418 units moved.

“GM and Chrysler are still seriously underperforming the market despite a lot of their issues being well behind them,” auto analyst Denis DesRosiers told The Canadian Press. “The negative spin from the bankruptcies in now five to six months old and the lack of product on the ground from their plant shutdowns this summer should be behind them. If it isn't they can only blame themselves. They are running out of ways to 'spin' their
poor market performance.”

Despite the disappointing numbers for November, there are some bright signs on the horizon. Consumer spending was reported to be up 0.8 per cent according to Statistics Canada, marking the largest positive jump in the index since Q4 in 2007.

The agency alos reported Monday that real gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 0.4 per cent in Q3 marking the “official” end to the recession.

- With files from The Canadian Press, Statistics Canada and DesRosiers Automotive Consultants