By on March 17, 2014



In February 2014, for the eleventh consecutive month, Canada’s auto industry generated year-over-year sales growth. The gains produced in each of the last two months aren’t significant. In fact, auto sales through the first two months of 2014 are down 1.4% compared with the January/February period in 2012.

Automakers chasing a second consecutive record year of total auto sales can’t be too concerned by the slim YOY improvement. Sales in March and April will likely be more than 60% stronger than they were in January and February. And though auto sales only rose 1.5% during the first one-sixth of 2014, a less vicious winter could have allowed more customers to enter new car stores.

The Chrysler Group’s buyers have not been deterred by harsh weather, at least not on the light truck side of the ledger. In February and on year-to-date terms, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/Fiat sales led all manufacturers, outselling the second-ranked Ford Motor Company by nearly 2300 units in February.

With sales that were 64% stronger than Toyota’s, the Ford brand was by far the highest-volume specific brand. Ford brand car sales are down 21% in 2014.

2668 additional sales from the Jeep Cherokee, Canada’s seventh-best-selling utility vehicle, have been a big help at Chrysler. (Excluding the Cherokee, Chrysler Group volume is down 1%. With the Cherokee, sales are up 7%.) Likewise, Chrysler finds strength in its Ram Pickup, which has seen a market share boost in the truck category to 29% from 27% at this time last year.

Car sales across the Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat range are down 10% in 2014 and fell 22% in February. Only 12% of the vehicles sold by the Chrysler Group in February were passenger cars.

Though it’s exacerbated in Chrysler’s showrooms, Canada’s distaste for cars is becoming more obvious. Automotive News says 39.2% of the new vehicles sold in Canada last month were passenger cars, way down from 43.9% in February 2013 and 44.3% in February 2012. February’s top-selling car, the Hyundai Elantra – which trails the Honda Civic through two months – was down 6%. Sales of the Mazda 3, Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Accent, Ford Fusion, and Honda Accord, which ranked fourth through tenth among cars in February, were down YOY.

Meanwhile, massive increases were reported by many of Canada’s top-selling small crossovers. The Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, and Subaru Forester averaged year-over-year gains of 47%.

BMW was the top-selling premium brand in Canada in February, though not year-to-date. Lexus is far from being the Canadian luxury leader, but Toyota’s premium division has outsold Acura in 2014, no mean feat for Lexus. Acura has outsold Lexus by an average of nearly 2300 units annually over the last five years. Typically, Lexus’s car division simply doesn’t pull its fair share of the weight. In fact, at both brands, as is the case among numerous premium automakers, utility vehicles carry the load. 59% of Lexus’s February volume was RX/LX/GX-derived (compared with 40% in the U.S.) while Acura generated 67% of its February Canadian sales with the MDX and RDX.

However, it’s the BMW X5 and not the Lexus RX which currently leads all premium brand crossovers. Indeed, the X5 has led premium utility sales in three of the last four months, a meaningful achievement for a vehicle that’s priced in excess of $63,000 when vehicles like the second-ranked Audi Q5 start just above $40K.

So-called premium automobiles form a burgeoning part of the Canadian market, a part of the market that’s being fuelled as much by high riders as it is by entry-level luxury cars. That should come as no surprise in a country where seven dozen SUV/CUV nameplates have produced 34% of the new vehicle sales in 2014.

On the other hand, maybe Canadian consumers are setting the stage for a return to tradition. Minivan sales jumped 17% to 6671 units in February, equal to 6.3% of the industry’s total volume, almost twice the market share achieved by minivans in the U.S. Or maybe not.

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16 Comments on “Canada Sales Recap: February 2014...”

  • avatar

    Even by Canadian standards its been an very harsh winter. It would have to impact sales.

  • avatar

    “So-called premium automobiles form a burgeoning part of the Canadian market, a part of the market that’s being fuelled as much by high riders as it is by entry-level luxury cars.”

    I knew there was a reason people were spending $50K on BMW X3s, I just figured we’d see more of it in Colorado than Canada.

  • avatar

    The relative decline of GM’s market share is a story.

  • avatar

    I suspect that the biggest thing killing GMC in Canada is truck sales. I used to see a fairly even split between Ford and GMC trucks with Dodge sucking hind teat.
    That has changed dramatically. I now see mostly Ford or Ram trucks.
    Even though GMC released the 2014 trucks early in 2013 I do not see many of them. GoodCarBadCar stats are telling in relation to GMC trucks.
    #3 GMC Sierra (Feb2014)2620 (Feb2013)2744 = -4.5% drop. (2014YTD)4980 (2013YTD)5291 -5.9% drop
    #4 Chevrolet Silverado (Feb2014)2023 (Feb2013)2386 = -15.2% drop (2014YTD)4059 (2013YTD)4815 = -15.7% drop
    The new Silverado is looking like a market flop with the Sierra selling like a warmed over 2013 model.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The new thing is that Ram pickups are outselling Sierra and Silverado put together.

    • 0 avatar

      I am absolutely sure it has nothing do with the following…

      Ram 1500 starting MSRP – $19,990
      Silverado 1500 starting MSRP – $26,300
      Sierra 1500 starting MSRP – $26,900
      Malibu starting MSRP – $24,900
      Equinox starting msrp – $26,300
      2014 Avenger/200 – $17,500/$17,900
      Journey – $19,000
      Caravan – $19,000
      Traverse – $32,000

      Source: GM and Chrysler Canadian websites.

      Massively discounted cars/trucks in addition to being priced significantly lower to begin with are outselling more expensive cars/trucks. News at 11!

      • 0 avatar

        Were those truck prices 2WD or 4WD? High 26 sounds about right for MSRP of a base Chevy truck with 4×4, 4x2s are typically advertised in the low 20s around here. If RAM is putting out a 4×4 for 20K I’m quite impressed but skeptical.

        RAM Tradesman 4×2 MSRP’s at 24 on the US website. MSRP jumps to 28,145 on Tradesman with 4×4.,0

        • 0 avatar

          Those prices are for base 2wd regular cabs. The price gap for Ram vs Chevy extended and crew cabs is similar.

          A 4WD silverado regular cab work truck is nearly 30 grand. Remember, auto prices in Canada are much higher, Chrysler being the exception.

          • 0 avatar

            @alluster – I’m not sure about your numbers. It is deceptive. If you look at just base price, Ram appears to be lo-balling their figures as one cannot work through the “build your own” to the end unless a “package” is selected that bumps up the price.

            These are for base model 4×2 reg cab V6 6.5 box pickups with taxes and delivery charges.

            Ram ST ……. $22,885
            (7,000 consumer cash discount included)

            Ford XL…….. $23,015
            (1,250 deliver allowance included)

            Chevy WT …… $25,790
            (2,250 cash credit included)

            GMC base ……. $26,405
            (2,250 cash credit included)


            4×4 reg cab V6 6.5 box base trim

            Ford XL 4×4…… $29,175
            (7,250 discount included)

            Chevy WT 4×4 …. $29,390
            (2,250 discount included)

            Ram St 4×4 ……$29,485
            (7,000 discount included)

            GMC base 4×4….. $30,005
            (2,250 discount included)

            The Chevy WT 4×2 is more expensive than the Ram since Ram is tossing around bigger discounts. When we look at 4×4 both Ram and Ford have some huge discounts.

            One would have to look at the spec sheets of each truck to get a true idea of the differences.

            GMC has been claiming to be making good money on sales due to higher transaction prices.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The drop in passenger car sales is due to poor road conditions. With the potholes and “traffic calming measures” (speed bumps), you need huge tires and good ground clearance to navigate Canada’s major cities (with the possible exception of Vancouver).

  • avatar

    @heavy handle – the lower mainland of BC, Sunshine coast and Vancouver Island tends to get off fairly easy in the winter.

    With that being said, big tire 4×4’s aren’t a necessity in most cities let alone the major centres.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      They are in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Potholes the size of basketballs.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in the Maritimes (not a major urban area by any stretch of the imagination) it’s hard to find a full-sized 4×2 truck on the lot. I’d wager only 10-15% are 4×2. Most are mid-level extended cab 4x4s. Of course our roads suck, we got 300cm (10 ft) of snow this winter and lots of people like spending time out in the woods hunting and camping.

  • avatar

    So, Canada is the only country in the world where Chrysler is actually the sales leader?

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