TORONTO—Canadian auto sales climbed a stronger-than-expected six per cent last year to a record high of 1.85 million units, according to the Scotiabank Global Auto Report.
In contrast to last year when purchases advanced in all regions, the outlook is diverging across provinces with Central Canada to become the growth engine that will drive purchases to record highs.
“We expect sales to edge up 1.86 million units in 2015, buoyed by ongoing job gains, low interest rates, and near-record vehicle affordability,” said Carlos Gomes, senior economist and auto industry specialist at Scotiabank.
“Canadian exports have accelerated over the past year, advancing by 11 per cent—the best performance since 2011. Shipments will be buoyed in 2015 by the strongest economic growth in the United States in a decade, as well as by the recent sharp depreciation of the Canadian dollar as a result of the slump in global oil prices.”
Other highlights from the report include:
- Car and light truck purchases in Ontario jumped a stronger-than-expected 11% last year, climbing above 700,000 units for the first time on record, and are expected to increase to 726,000 in 2015 alongside higher household and fleet volumes.
- The sharp, up-front retrenchment in Alberta’s ‘oil patch’ will drag down vehicle sales to 263,000 units this year, down from a peak of 269,000 in 2014. However, even with the downturn in oil and gas investment, Alberta’s labour market will continue to grow in line with the national average, as the resource sector only accounts for only 3% of all jobs in Alberta.
- Quebec’s auto market has underperformed in the current cycle, held back by a weak job market. However, we expect strengthening manufacturing exports will finally stabilize employment prospects, helping to lift auto sales to 423,000 units in 2015 — the third-highest level of record.