TORONTO - New-vehicle sales in February soared 17.3 percent over a year ago as each of the Big 3 posted major gains.
The February increase, the fifth consecutive month of double-digit gains for the Canadian market, pushed sales for the year 16.6 percent ahead of the year-earlier period.
Among the Big 3, General Motors was up 19.7 percent from a year earlier; Ford Motor Co. was up 19.1 percent; and Chrysler, 6.6 percent.
GM and Ford posted gains in both cars and trucks, but Chrysler's car sales slipped 6.6 percent.
Toyota led the Japanese brands with a 50.4 percent increase in February, followed by Nissan, up 38.9 percent; Subaru, 10.6 percent; Mazda, 6.2 percent; and Honda, 5.4 percent. But Suzuki continued to struggle, with sales down 29.9 percent.
Among the Koreans, Kia was up 46 percent from a year earlier while Hyundai rose 27.9 percent. Daewoo was down 51.2 percent.
All European brands except Volkswagen and Porsche were higher in the month.
According to a new study, meanwhile, the average transaction price in Canada for a new vehicle slipped 1 percent last year to $29,341 Canadian, or about $18,520 at current exchange rates, the first decline since 1982.
The trend will continue lower, said the author of the study.
"There's just no room for price increases in the Canadian marketplace," said industry consultant and analyst Dennis DesRosiers. "Prices will be flat again, plus or minus 1.0 percent, this year."
DesRosiers attributed the reduction to 0 percent financing and other incentives, an increased purchase rate for cars compared with trucks, and the increased market share held by lower-priced Korean vehicles.