(RICHMOND HILL, ON) – March new vehicle sales, as reported by vehicle distributors, were up slightly by 1.9 per cent, to record an all-time best March in the history of the Canadian industry. Sales year-to-date are up 2.7 per cent, so the concerns about Alberta dragging down the entire vehicle market in Canada are, so far, unfounded.
Provincial sales will be released later in the month. The automotive market is product driven, and the three companies that had the greatest gains for the month all benefitted from availability of new and exciting product.
Volkswagen posted a remarkable 72.6 per cent gain to 6,950 units as the Golf and GTI hit dealerships in full force. Porsche, with its Macan, was up 45.6% to 485 units, and MINI, with the new 3/5 door Cooper, gained 26.4% to 465 units.
FCA maintained its overall market lead although, with a sales gain of 1.7%, it underperformed the market.
A number of large distributors posted slight sales declines for the month including Toyota, -5.1 per cent, Ford, -4.6 per cent, GM, -3.5 per cent, and Honda, -2.6 per cent.
It is not often the market sees these four players decline and still manages to post an overall gain.
Truck sales were up 5.4 per cent and continued to outperform passenger cars, that declined -2.9 per cent during March.
While the market is off to a positive start for the year, we do caution that at this time of year, a number of sales approaches employed by vehicle distributors may result in over-estimating the actual retail marketplace.
January to March are three of the slowest months of the year for new vehicle sales and, because volumes are so low, these sales tactics can impact actual market performance, especially at a brand level.
We will wait to see how the market develops in the key spring selling season.
More information on these sales numbers can be found in the DesRosiers Automotive Reports published by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. For more information on these reports please contact Lori Gamoff at (905)881-0400 x18 or by email.