New vehicles sold in 2017 hit a record for a fifth consecutive year in Canada as nearly 2.04 million units were delivered, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.
That marked a 4.6 percent increase over 2016 and the eighth year in a row of sales increases since the financial crisis of 2009.
The annual sales level was reached despite lower sales in the last two months of the year when sales fell 1.1 percent in December and 1.2 percent in November, according to the analyst.
DesRosiers says light trucks sales grew 8.7 percent to nearly 1.4 million units last year.
Passenger car sales dropped 3.4 percent to about 640,000 units, the lowest level since 1964.
Ford led 2017 with 308,474 vehicles sold, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit. General Motors followed close behind with about 302,826 vehicles sold.
Automakers needed to sell about 80,000 vehicles combined in December to establish the new high-water mark for the year.
But the final month of 2017 wasn't the best for some automakers as several saw sales decrease when compared with the same month a year before.
Here’s a look at how some of the automakers fared in during the last month of 2017 and how they ended the year:
Ford Canada’s December sales dropped 11.3 percent to 17,526 vehicles, down from the 19,749 the automaker sold during the same month in 2016.
Ford Canada’s sales for the year were up 1.3 percent overall with 308,474 vehicles sold, compared to the 304,445 it sold in 2016.
Despite the down month overall, the Ford F series remained Canada’s best-selling truck for the 52nd consecutive year, selling 155,290 units.
General Motors Canada sold 19,801 vehicles, up 9.2 percent over the same month in 2016. The automaker sold 302,826 vehicles for the year, an increase of 13.3 percent over 2016.
"We built momentum steadily throughout 2017, and our December results are signalling our intention to keep our brands at the front of the pack,” GM Canada’s vice-president of sales and marketing, John Roth, said in a statement.
The automaker’s GMC line led all makes in sales growth by percentage in December, up 30.3 percent. Sales of the GMC Yukon nearly tripled to 304 units while Sierra sales were up 39.3 percent to 3,812 trucks. Chevrolet Silverado sales were up 53.4 percent to 3,760 units, but the Chevy brand inched up only 3.2 percent. The automaker’s biggest loser was the Cadillac brand, as sales plummeted 37.6 percent to just 841 units for the month. For the year, Cadillac's total sales were 13,330, up 9.6 percent versus 2016.
Toyota's down December
Toyota Canada’s total sales dropped 7.8 percent to 12,615 in December when compared with the same month a year ago. Its Lexus luxury brand suffered the biggest monthly losses, with total sales off 10.9 percent to 1,555 vehicles. But, the luxury line still had its best year, with an annual sales growth of 10 percent and a total of 24,765 units sold in 2017.
Toyota brand car sales were down 8.5 percent to 3,732 vehicles in December. While Corolla sales were down 11.9 percent, Toyota saw a 21.8 percent sales increase of the Camry -- it marked the car’s fourth consecutive month of growth since the new model was introduced in September 2017. Its truck sales dipped 6.8 percent to 11,060 units.
For the sixth consecutive year, Toyota reported its best year ever for truck sales. It sold 136,586 vehicles in that segment in 2017, up 6.2 percent compared with last year. Record 2017 truck sales were led by the Canada-made Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX. Both vehicles had their best sales year ever in 2017 with RAV4 sales of 50,894 units, up 3.6 percent compared to 2016, and a 15.4 percent annual increase for RX sales, with 9,402 vehicles sold.
Overall, Toyota Canada’s total sales, including Lexus and Scion brands, were up 3.1 percent to 224,547 units.
December 2017 FCA Canada sales of 17,654 vehicles were down 6.4 percent when compared with results from December 2016. For the year, the automaker’s sales slid 4.2 percent to 267,052 units.
Despite the Ram brand posting a 18.5 percent decrease in sales last month, 2017 was a record year for the brand and its Ram pickup line. Total Ram sales were up 10.3 percent to 103,843 units for the year while Ram pickups saw a sales increase of 10 percent, up to 98,465 units.
FCA’s Chrysler brand had a strong December, with sales up 46.4 percent on the back of sudden Chrysler 300 sales surge and strong Pacifica sales. The automaker sold 494 units of the 300, up 186 percent, and 638 Pacificas, up 144 percent. But for the year, Chrysler brand sales were down 16.7 percent to 13,364 vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz ended the year selling 3,673 vehicles in December, including a small number of Smart cars and up only 0.5 percent for the month. But the Mercedes-Benz brand itself was up 6.5 percent to 3,649 vehicles during December. The luxury automaker sold 52,298 vehicles for the year, up 8.2 percent.
Several automakers reported sales declines in the United States.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.