TORONTO—Predictions of a downturn in Canadian auto sales this year were left in the dust again last month as sales soared 9.1 per cent to the best February on record, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
February sales of a combined 119,201 cars and light trucks added to the 9.6 per cent year-over-year increase in January, making it one of the industry’s strongest starts to a sale year ever, DesRosiers said Tuesday.
“We are maintaining our forecast (for 2016) of a slight increase in sales year over year” after record sales of 1.898 million new vehicles in 2015, it said.
Strength in the market came from almost all brands, with the exception of Volkswagen as the German automaker continues to grapple with the fallout of a scandal involving emissions-cheating software in its vehicles. Its sales fell 27.7 per cent to 3,408 from 4,711 in February 2015.
FCA was the number one selling brand at 18,813 vehicles, although that was up only half a per cent from the same month last year.
Ford Canada’s sales soared 22.4 per cent to 18,389, while General Motors sales advanced 13.9 per cent to 15,729.
Among other major name brands, sales by Japanese automaker Toyota were up 10.7 per cent at 13,129 vehicles while Honda sales rose 18.8 per cent to 8,551. Korean manufacturer Hyundai saw sales contract 1.4 per cent to 8,206.
Overall, passenger car sales fell 5.5 per cent to 39,950 from 41,199 last month, but that was more than offset by a 17.9 per cent increase in sales of light trucks, to 80,251 from 68,049. The light truck category includes SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks.