Canadian Manufacturing

Strong Canadian auto sales for 2012 could lead to gains in 2013

Automakers reported sales of close to 1.68-million in Canada in 2012, best year since 2002


TORONTO—In a positive sign for both the Canadian economy and auto industry, auto sales look to be on the up-and-up heading into 2013.

Automakers reported sales of close to 1.68-million in Canada in 2012, the best year for sales in the country since 2002.

Car sales accounted for 759,795 units sold over the course of the year, while light truck sales were slightly higher at 915,880, according to data put together by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Inc.

After Kia Canada reported a record year in 2012, boasting a 19.5 per cent year-over-year increase, both Honda Canada and Toyota Canada announced sales increases in line with those of their Korean counterpart.

The Canadian divisions of Honda and Toyota announced year-over year sales increases of 21 per cent and 18.4 per cent, respectively, with Honda calling 2012 its best in four years.

Surging automaker Hyundai said 2012 marked its best year in Canada since setting up shop in the country in 1983, moving 136,283 units and posting best-ever months in each month last year.

Hyundai Canada’s 2012 sales were up a modest 5.4 per cent over 2011.

Heading in the opposite direction was General Motors, with GM Canada announcing a decline in year-over-year sales of 6.6 per cent, capped off by a 20 per cent drop for December sales.

Combined with Chrysler and Ford, sales by the U.S. Big Three in Canada made up about 44 per cent of vehicles sold, down slightly from the 47 per cent they posted in 2011.

Ford Canada was the best selling brand for the month of December, moving 16,874 units.

According to the numbers, Ford’s year-over-year sales for 2012 edged up by 90 vehicles compared to 2011, moving a total of 276,068 nationwide.

Chrysler Canada said its sales rose six per cent over last year, with 243,845 vehicles sold in Canada in 2012 compared to 230,992 in 2011.

The Nissan and Infiniti brands finished the year on a sour note, with combined sales in December dropping 26 per cent year-over-year to 4,909.

For the year, the two brands saw combined sales of 82,194, a drop of 2.9 per cent from 2011.

Volkswagen Canada said sales for the year were up more than 12 per cent in 2012, coming in at 59,132.

Mazda Canada’s sales saw a slight increase of four per cent in 2012, finishing at 71,638, led by its Mazda3 line, which accounted for more than half the Japanese automaker’s Canada sales at 39,295.

Subaru’s Canadian division said it sold 31,003 units in 2012, its best over the brand’s 37-year history.

BMW led the luxury pack with sales 31,402 vehicles for the year, up 5.4 per cent over 2011.

Combined with its Mini brand, BMW Canada announced total sales of 37,707 for 2012, marking the 22nd consecutive year of growth for the German automaker.

Despite an industry-wide cool down to round out the year—Toyota, Ford and GM all saw sales drop in December—experts are predicting 2012’s momentum to carry into the New Year.

About a week prior to automakers reporting their December and annual sales, Scotiabank senior economist and auto industry expert Carlos Gomes predicted an advance in sales to 1.69-million in Canada in 2013.

According to Gomes, that would be the second-highest level on record and up from the 1.68-million sold in 2012.

Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants also predicted a slight increase in Canada-wide sales in 2013.

With files from The Canadian Press

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