2014 Canada Auto Sales Recap: Records, Records Everywhere

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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2014 canada auto sales recap records records everywhere

2014 was a record-setting year for auto sales in Canada, a fitting follow-up to a record-setting twelve-month period one year earlier.

Auto sales in Canada jumped 6% to 1.85 million, an increase of 107,000 units. Pickup truck and minivan sales growth lagged slightly behind the overall industry’s pace, commercial van volume jumped 16%, and SUV/crossover sales rose 15%.

• Record sales achieved by 15 auto brands

• F-Series, Civic, Escape, Grand Caravan lead categories

• Six auto brands report YOY declines

Car sales were flat, which resulted in a market share decline from 44.6% in 2014 to 42.1% in 2014. In December, even with a somewhat impressive 11% improvement, passenger cars accounted for less than 38% of all new vehicle sales.

The fastest-growing auto brands were not so afflicted. Jeep volume shot up 58% to a record-setting 70,503 units. Jeep, of course, does not market any passenger cars.

Porsche car volume jumped 11%, but it hardly mattered, as the brand’s 53% increase in utility vehicle sales propelled the brand to a record-setting 4933 sales in 2014.

Sales of Buick’s cars, which accounted for 51% of the brand’s volume, shot up 28%; the brand’s Enclave and Encore crossovers combined for a 35% increase.

Nissan broke its Canadian sales record with assistance from cars and crossovers. The automaker says their car volume rose 18% to 51,870, less than half Nissan’s output, but the brand’s top-selling Rogue produced a 71% improvement and overall “light truck” volume was up 38%. Nissan, up 27% over the course of the year, was Canada’s sixth-best-selling brand.

Meanwhile, Land Rover, which like Jeep and Porsche and Nissan set a sales record in 2014, does not market any passenger cars. Only Maserati grew faster than the aforementioned auto brands, more than doubling its Canadian volume, year-over-year.

Joining Jeep, Porsche, Nissan, Land Rover, and Maserati in record-setting fashion were the top three premium brands – Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi – as well as Infiniti, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Honda.

Honda Canada, which assembles a number of products in southern Ontario, made its Canadian-built Civic Canada’s best-selling car for the 17th consecutive year. In the final two months of 2014, the Honda CR-V was Canada’s third-best-selling vehicle, outsold only by two pickup trucks. The CR-V fell short of ending the year as Canada’s best-selling utility vehicle, however, as the perennial leader, Ford’s Escape, posted a 16% year-over-year increase to 52,198 units, 14,514 more than the Honda managed.

Both those CR-V-besting trucks, the top-selling Ford F-Series and second-ranked Ram P/U, set Canadian sales records during the 2014 calendar year. Combined, the GM truck twins (Sierra and Silverado) set a record of their own and outsold the Ram by a slim 1484-unit margin. Full-size trucks accounted for 95% of the pickups sold in Canada in 2014.

Ford Motor Company’s namesake brand was the top-selling auto brand in Canada in 2014, though the Ford brand’s market share fell by one half of a percentage point to 15.4%. FCA/Chrysler Group ended 2014 fewer than 2000 sales back of FoMoCo and increased their market share from 14.9% in 2013 to 15.7%. GM, the third-ranked automobile manufacturer, saw its market share level off at 13.5%.

Not unexpectedly, few automakers produced fewer sales in 2014 than in 2013, but those that did were notable for a variety of reasons. Scion’s 20% loss is not far out of line with its 15% decline south of the border. Mini’s 10% drop hides a record-setting fourth-quarter for the brand.

Dodge was down 7%, largely because of the disappearance of the Avenger. (Dodge car sales slid 43%, but the Grand Caravan which generates more than half of Dodge’s sales and is Canada’s fifth-best-selling vehicle was up 11%.)

Volvo dropped 4%, the brand’s third consecutive year of decline. Kia was down 3%, the second consecutive drop after the brand hit its own high-water mark in 2012. Chrysler sales were down 3% but were up 42% in the second-half of the year.

Although it’s unlikely that we’ll see an even more significant swing toward pickup trucks and big SUVs in 2014, the auto industry as a whole will likely be buoyed by falling oil prices. As consumers find more and more unanticipated cash in their wallets, you can safely assume they’ll be buying and leasing more Ford Escapes, Honda CR-Vs, and Toyota RAV4s. More cars? Perhaps, but Canada’s turn away from passenger cars swing into action before gas prices began their rapid decline.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Timothy Cain
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  • Th009 Th009 on Jan 22, 2015

    However, the drop in oil prices has slammed the brakes on Alberta's oil sands economy, so the truck sales will be particularly impacted. If Ontario's economy picks up (given the cheaper oil and lower interest rates), car sales may actually grow while truck sales shrink in 2015.

    • See 1 previous
    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Jan 23, 2015

      @Lou_BC His point is that there has been a big boom in truck sales due to the high price of oil in the areas that surround the oil fields. I've read about what was happening in North Dakota where the auto dealers have been selling out of 3/4 and 1 ton 4x4 pickups as soon as they hit the lot. The buyers are the guys who are making 3, 4 or 5 times more than they ever have due to the high wages that they were receiving working in the oil fields. With oil prices low it becomes unprofitable to extract that oil and thus they will be either cutting production or stopping it all together. That will mean all those guys that were buying trucks like crazy will stop doing so because they will be out of work. So while trucks will almost certainly remain the best sellers they will likely take a hit in the oil producing areas. Now will other areas start selling more

  • Mikesae Mikesae on Jan 22, 2015

    VW is handily beating Subaru in Canada. Completely the opposite of what's happening the the USA. I wonder why?

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