With forecasters calling for another year of improved Canadian auto sales, 2013’s early months didn’t add up. January volume fell 2.2%, February sales were down 3.3%, and March’s results were off the pace by 0.7%. But not since the first quarter ended have the players competing for sales in Canada reported anything but collective improvement.
55,000 more vehicles have been sold during the first ten months of 2013 than during the equivalent period in 2012, a 3.8% increase. 2013’s rise follows three consecutive years of improved Canadian auto sales. The current pace suggests Canadians will end 2013 having registered more than 1.7 million new vehicles for the first time since 2002.
As part of a new free trade agreement due to be signed with the European Union, Canada will remove its 6.1 percent tariff on imported vehicles from the European Union, while the EU will remove its 10 percent duties on autos and and its 4.5 percent duty on parts.
A brief memo from General Motors Canada confirmed that the Oshawa consolidated line, scheduled to close in 2014, will stay open until 2016. GM is citing strong market demand for the Chevrolet Equinox and the outgoing, Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet-only model) as a reason for the decision, but cautioned that “ All scheduling adjustments are subject to market demand”.
Under the terms of the bailout, GM must keep 16 percent of its production in Canada until it has repaid its loan obligations to the Canadian government, or until December 31, 2016. After that date, the future of Oshawa is uncertain.
September’s record Canadian auto sales were powered by huge gains among many of the country’s most popular nameplates. The record-setting industry performance occurred despite the declining volume reported by the manufacturer which sells the greatest number of vehicles south of the border. Numerous small-scale luxury automakers continue to post vastly improved sales compared with results from 2012.
Automobile manufacturers collectively reported a 4.1% year-over-year improvement in September sales, an increase of nearly 6000 units, an increase of more than 14,000 units compared with September 2011. 42.9% of the new vehicles registered in Canada in September were sold by the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group, and General Motors, down slightly from 43.2% in September 2012 as volume at the Detroit Three grew 3.5%. In September, those three manufacturers owned 45.3% of the U.S. market, where General Motors wasn’t outsold by Hyundai-Kia. (Read More…)
GM Canada’s CEO is expressing apprehension over the way cheap auto loans are fueling vehicle sales in Canada.
Canada’s affinity for small cars may result in it getting yet another exclusive product that won’t be offered to Americans. In addition to the Toyota Echo hatchback, Acura EL and Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the Nissan Micra may be sold in Canada.
Barring the unforeseen, 2013 will end as the fourth consecutive year of improved auto sales in Canada and one of the best years on record for total industry volume. After a first quarter in which Canadian sales slid 2%, volume has increased in each of the last five months.
The Detroit News is reporting that Ford Motor Co. will soon announce a ~$700US million investment in it’s Oakville, Ontario plant, where it assembles the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX midsize crossovers. According to Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper, $135 million of that will come from the Ontario and Canadian governments, which recently divested some of their bailout related shares in General Motors. The investment by Ford follows commitments made to the Canadian Auto Workers, now under the banner of Unifor, to add 600 jobs to the Oakville facility. (Read More…)
GM and Unifor (the union formerly known as the CAW) have reached a tentative agreement for the 2,500 workers at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which builds the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
The national Canadian and provincial Ontario governments have agreed to sell 30 million shares in General Motors that they received in exchange for their contributions to the 2009 bailout of the automaker. The shares are worth about $1.1 US billion, and were purchased by the Bank of America and the Royal Bank of Canada as a block.
The transaction will be completed early next week. The sale reduces the Canadian governments’ stake in GM by 21%, down to 110 million shares. Canada and Ontario had been, since the bailout, the third largest stockholder in General Motors, behind the UAW and the U.S. Treasury, and after the sale will own about 8% of the company’s shares.
“As we said from the start, our investment in GM was always meant to be temporary as we worked to maximize the return to Canadian taxpayers,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement. “The government of Canada is committed to exiting from ownership of GM as quickly as feasible, while maximizing the return for Canadian taxpayers, as we demonstrated today.”
The banks purchased the shares at a discount from Tuesday’s closing price, $37 a share, up 28% from the start of 2013.
While TTAC is known for Panther Love above all else, there are some of us here who possess an iconoclastic streak and long for a General Motors B-Body. The LT1 powered Buick Roadmaster is arguably the finest of the bunch, and an essay in today’s edition of The Globe and Mail illustrates why.
For the fourth consecutive month, Canadian auto sales increased in July 2013. An extra 10,600 units translated to a 7% increase, the second-best improvement so far this year. Passenger car volume, which travelled in the wrong direction in the first half of 2013, jumped 11% in July.