TORONTO - New-vehicle sales in Canada rose 11 percent in June to 133,376 units, extending the industry's string of gains from a year earlier to the ninth consecutive month.
The gain boosted first-half sales to 697,546 cars and light trucks, up 16 percent from a year earlier, providing solid evidence that the Canadian industry has emerged from the sales drought that marked the first half of the decade. At this pace, the year will come in at about 1.4 million units, up from less than 1.2 million last year and the best level since 1989.
Richard Conlin, vice president of marketing for General Motors of Canada Ltd., said he expects high consumer confidence and low interest rates to sustain the recovery.
The Big 3 reported first-half sales of 517,276 vehicles, up 11.1 percent from a year earlier, to yield a market share of 74.2 percent. But that was down more than 3 points from 77.5 percent a year earlier, a loss that went principally to the Japanese.
Sales of locally built and imported Japanese and European vehicles reached 180,270 units in the first half. The Japanese accounted for 142,771 units, up 38.5 percent. European import sales totaled 37,470, up 15.5 percent.
The Japanese now claim a 20.5 percent share of the market compared to 17.1 percent a year ago. The Europeans account for 5.4 percent, unchanged from last year.
Much of the Big 3's continued success remains linked to the light-truck market, in which the Japanese and other imports have fewer offerings. But the Big 3's share of the car market slipped to 61.8 percent in the first half from 65.3 percent a year ago. The Japanese improved their share to 28.8 percent, up from 25.6 percent, while the Europeans rose slightly to a 9.3 percent share.