By on October 11, 2017

2018 Audi Q5 - Image: AudiIn concert with the American auto industry, Canada’s auto industry reported an all-time record year of sales in 2016.

The difference? In Canada, 2016 represented the fourth consecutive year of record sales. Another difference? Canadian auto sales just kept on growing throughout 2017. Most recently, that streak of increases included an 8-percent year-over-year uptick in September 2017. Sales last month were 16-percent stronger than they typically are in September.

Month after month after month, Canada’s auto industry just keeps on smashing records. It’s as if the U.S. auto industry posted its banner year of 17.5 million sales in 2016 and then bettered that with 18.5 million sales in 2017.

Through the first three-quarters of 2017, Canadian auto sales rose nearly 6 percent, a gain of some 84,000 units for an industry that now averages nearly 180,000 monthly sales. So far this year, Honda, Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Volkswagen, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, and Infiniti, among other lower-volume brands, have all reported double-digit percentage gains. Rare is the brand that’s losing sales: Hyundai, Dodge, and Jeep are the only high-volume brands to do so.

Pickup trucks now own more than one-fifth of the market. Passenger cars are losing market share, but the degree to which they’re losing sales has slowed. Cars are down just 2 percent this year. Not only is the Honda Civic on track for its 20th consecutive year of Canadian sales leadership, Civic sales are on track to break 2008’s all-time Civic record. Booming SUV/crossover sales are at the center of the market’s growth, of course, as top sellers such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue are all ahead of last year’s record pace.

Incentives naturally play a part in the industry’s steady move toward the first-ever year of 2 million+ sales. So too does leasing and long-term loans. Leases account for over a quarter of Canadian auto sales, according to J.D. Power. The average loan term is now 75 months, about six months longer than the average term south of the border. Meanwhile, nearly a third of loan customers are rolling negative equity into their next purchase.

Is this a recipe for continued growth in the Canadian auto industry? If past is prologue, Canadian auto sales are destined to rise further.

Auto Brand Sept. 2017 Sept. 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
Ford 30,093 29,290 2.7% 239,629 232,362 3.1%
Toyota 19,599 17,056 14.9% 156,611 153,075 2.3%
Honda 16,143 15,609 3.4% 139,843 126,912 10.2%
Chevrolet 15,693 14,717 6.6% 132,185 113,329 16.6%
Nissan 12,215 10,679 14.4% 104,788 95,663 9.5%
Hyundai 11,961 11,662 2.6% 103,232 112,292 -8.1%
GMC 8,629 7,807 10.5% 76,104 63,294 20.2%
Ram 8,136 6,987 16.4% 85,088 74,088 14.8%
Kia 7,819 6,548 19.4% 59,751 56,081 6.5%
Volkswagen 7,564 5,026 50.5% 52,785 47,676 10.7%
Mazda 6,876 6,013 14.4% 57,010 52,759 8.1%
Dodge 5,419 5,989 -9.5% 60,073 65,509 -8.3%
Subaru 5,139 4,611 11.5% 40,976 37,248 10.0%
Mercedes-Benz 4,727 4,188 12.9% 39,530 35,275 12.1%
Jeep 4,031 5,600 -28.0% 54,382 65,070 -16.4%
BMW 3,709 3,586 3.4% 28,532 28,229 1.1%
Audi 3,277 2,739 19.6% 27,952 23,401 19.4%
Lexus 2,419 2,177 11.1% 18,687 16,471 13.5%
Mitsubishi 2,069 1,937 6.8% 17,487 17,131 2.1%
Acura 2,038 1,988 2.5% 14,736 14,913 -1.2%
Buick 1,638 1,678 -2.4% 14,095 14,096 -0.0%
Cadillac 1,277 1,264 1.0% 10,182 8,751 16.4%
Infiniti 1,222 1,076 13.6% 9,536 8,648 10.3%
Land Rover 895 799 12.0% 6,896 6,865 0.5%
Lincoln 788 861 -8.5% 6,476 6,384 1.4%
Porsche 760 660 15.2% 6,124 5,390 13.6%
Mini 700 608 15.1% 5,188 5,064 2.4%
Chrysler 597 893 -33.1% 10,863 13,114 -17.2%
Volvo 550 453 21.4% 4,933 4,728 4.3%
Jaguar 438 331 32.3% 3,655 2,043 78.9%
Fiat 152 169 -10.1% 2,193 1,806 21.4%
Alfa Romeo 109 1 10,800% 534 71 652%
Maserati 72 58 24.1% 973 391 149%
Genesis 50 378
Smart 33 400 -91.8% 277 1,335 -79.3%
Bentley 15 23 -34.8% 151 94 60.6%
Ford Motor Company 30,881 30,151 2.4% 246,105 238,746 3.1%
General Motors 27,237 25,466 7.0% 232,566 199,470 16.6%
Toyota Motor Corp. 22,018 19,233 14.5% 175,298 169,546 3.4%
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group 19,830 18,210 8.9% 163,361 168,373 -3.0%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 18,516 19,697 -6.0% 214,106 220,049 -2.7%
Honda Canada 18,181 17,597 3.3% 154,579 141,825 9.0%
Nissan/Infiniti/Mitsubishi 15,506 13,692 13.2% 131,811 121,442 8.5%
Volkswagen Group 11,616 8,448 37.5% 87,012 76,561 13.7%
Mercedes-Benz Canada 4,760 4,588 3.7% 39,807 36,610 8.7%
BMW Group 4,409 4,194 5.1% 33,720 33,293 1.3%
Jaguar Land Rover 1,333 1,130 18.0% 10,551 8,908 18.4%
Total † 187,266 173,781 7.8% 1,595,519 1,511,836 5.5%

Source: Global Automakers of Canada

† total includes Automotive News estimates for Tesla (350 September sales; 3,150 YTD) and low-volume brands that do not report monthly sales.

[Image: Audi]

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13 Comments on “If U.S. Auto Sales Were Growing Like Canadian Auto Sales, Americans Would Buy 18.5 Million Vehicles In 2017...”


  • avatar
    vvk

    I’ve got two words for you: housing bubble.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      The Canadian housing bubble is a myth. The only 2 markets that are experiencing substantial growth are Toronto and Vancouver, driven in both cases by strong inbound migration.

      The GTA experiences annual net inbound migration of about 100,000 people – a long-standing pattern. This creates demand for about 70,000 new housing units a year. Most people would prefer to live in the city rather than the ‘burbs, so there is a steady increase in housing demand in the city.

      At the same time, the number of new single-family homes built in the city is less than 1,500 per year – almost all of which are larger replacements for smaller houses that get torn down, so the net addition to the housing stock from this is negligible.

      So, our old friend the law of supply and demand dictates that prices go up. The long-term trend in Toronto is that housing prices have risen in the range of 6-8% a year. Good for homeowners, but hardly a bubble. There was a frenzied market during the period 2016 Q4-2017 Q2, but that abated during the spring.

      Mortgage delinquencies in Toronto were 0.12% at the end of, following a steady downward trend since 2012 Q3 (when the rate was 0.24%). The Toronto rate is barely a third of the national rate (0.34%).

      Meanwhile, the economy is growing, people have jobs and money is cheap. Which means that people can make their mortgage payments and still buy new cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Taxation upon wealthy immigrants and/or Asians offshoring wealth caused a hick-up in Vancouver but then prices kept climbing again.

        The Bank of Canada has been watching closely because the majority of Canadians are deeply in debt. They do feel that our financial institutions are in a good position to weather a “burst” bubble. The oil price implosion wasn’t as damaging as expected and could be seen as a sign of resilience.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Canadians have more scope for new vehicle sales compared to the US because Canada has around 640 vehicles per thousand people versus the US at around 750.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    Jeez..not looking so good for Hyundai and FCA.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    It pains me that my countrymen have, for 20 long years, defied everything good that has hit the auto market and kept on schlepping around in vanilla boring Civics (except special high performance models of course). Get on the freeway in the morning and you think you are in a Honda dealer’s sales lot. It has been boring now for two decades. Sometime, surely, it’s going to stop. Here’s a test: from 25 feet tell me the year and model of your Civic. Hah. I knew you couldn’t. Fellow Canadians, for pete’s sake, buy something anything else.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Oh, to make it easier.

    Canadians own far less vehicles per capita, hence greater scope for sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Or perhaps our economy is more stable especially at the lower end of the economic spectrum?
      Or perhaps our climate is more harsh therefore vehicle life spans aren’t as long?

      Probably has nothing to do with the fact that our economy has grown at a rate much faster than that of the USA.

      Growth has been the fastest of the G7 countries.


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