Canada and Mexico are taking a bigger chunk of the North American auto market and have accounted for a larger share of production and sales in each of the past four years.
Combined, the two countries accounted for a third of North American production last year, up from a quarter in 2005. And Canada and Mexico grabbed 17.5 percent of North America auto sales in 2009, up from 13.8 percent in 2005. The two nations increased their shares of production and sales by losing proportionately less volume than the United States, according to the Automotive News report "2010 Market Data, North American Sales."
The annual report, with detailed North American light-vehicle sales and historical data, is available online at autonews.com/mdbsales for subscribers to the Automotive News Data Center.
On the production side, Mexico is the driver, outbuilding Canada in 2008 and 2009. Total North American output plunged 52 percent to 8.8 million vehicles last year, from 16.4 million in 2005. But Mexico's volume dropped only 8 percent to 1.6 million units, and Canada fell 44 percent to 1.5 million in the same period.
Production data are available at autonews.com/mdbproduction.
On sales, Canada is the change agent. Combined sales in the three countries fell to 12.6 million light vehicles last year from 19.7 million in 2005. But Canada's share jumped to 11.6 percent from 8.0 percent. Mexico slightly boosted its share to 6.0 percent last year from 5.8 percent in 2005.
The U.S. market dominates North America, but its share slipped to 82.5 percent last year from 86.2 percent because 2009 sales were down 6.6 million vehicles from 2005, or 39 percent. Over the same period, Mexican sales fell 33 percent and Canadian sales dropped only 8 percent.
At the same time, consumer tastes in the three countries are converging. From 2005 to 2009, U.S. buyers have become more likely to buy a car than a pickup, van or crossover, while Mexicans and Canadians are purchasing more trucks than they used to.
Cars are now preferred over trucks in all three countries, but the mix is much closer.
In 2005, the U.S. split was 53/47, trucks over cars, while Canadians preferred cars 55 to 45 and Mexicans were even more car-centric at 63/37. By last year the United States was in the middle with a 55/45 car preference, while Canadians stood at 52/48 and Mexico was at 58 percent cars and 42 percent trucks.