Automakers in August almost stopped the bleeding when it came to new-vehicle sales in Canada, but the losing streaking extended to 18 months in length with a slight year-over-year decrease.
Sales were essentially flat as they fell an estimated 0.1 percent to 181,996 new vehicles sold last month when compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit.
The estimate reflects Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s move to join General Motors Canada in abandoning monthly sales reports.
The center now estimates sales are down 4.2 percent to 1.34 million units sold through the first eight months of the year when compared with the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) said that — based on its own estimates for GM and FCA — suggested total sales inched up 0.5 percent percent “to around 182,000 units.”
“Consumer confidence was lower in August than it has been, which is an important factor with respect to big ticket item purchases,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC). “However, we still have interest rates at very attractive levels to perhaps counter-balance lower consumer confidence ratings.”
When it came to consumer confidence in August, the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index — a composite indicator derived from phone surveys of households — ended the month at 56.4, down from 58.6 at the end of July.
The drop reflects waning optimism about Canada’s economy, and effectively reverses the pick up in sentiment earlier this summer. It marks the first drop in the index of more than two points since November 2018.
Truck sales in August increased almost eight percent over last year, comprising 76 percent of the market, according to the GAC.
It’s been 17 months since the industry posted an overall sales gain and it appears two million units is out of reach with four months to go this year.
Automakers — except for FCA and GM — on Wednesday began reporting August sales figures.
The Automotive News Data Center estimates GM sold 25,991 vehicles in August while FCA sold an estimated 21,085.
Here’s a look at how some automakers fared in August:
TOYOTA TURNS IT UP, AGAIN
Toyota Canada continues to see its sales surge, posting a 10 percent gain in August when compared with the same month a year ago.
The automaker sold 22,384 vehicles last month, up from 20,433 in 2018.
The increase comes after Toyota Canada posted a 16 percent increase in July.
Toyota brand sales were up 10.4 percent to 20,286 vehicles while luxury Lexus sales rose 2.6 percent to 2,108.
Prius was one of the biggest gainers by percentage for the automaker, up 105 percent to 1,175 units. But it was the higher-volume crossover and utility vehicle segments that led the charge. Sales of the RAV4 were up 17 percent to 5,819 to make it the company’s most popular vehicle. C-HR sales increased 19 percent to 684 units while 4Runner sales were up 26 percent to 903 vehicles sold.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Corolla and even the Sienna minivan posted gains, up five percent to 4,788 units and up 46 percent to 1,280 units, respectively.
The biggest gainers for Lexus were the ES and NX, up 75 percent and 28 percent to 169 and 703 units, respectively.
Ford Canada reported an August sales decrease of nine percent when compared with the same period in 2018.
Ford sold 26,655 vehicles last month with the popular F series truck taking one of the biggest hits. Sales of the country’s most popular vehicle were down five percent to 14,600 units, which was enough to move the needle downward.
The Ford Explorer saw its sales cut by more than half, down 60 percent to 762 units.
Small sales increases for the lower-volume Edge and Expedition — up 13 and 92 percent, respectively — weren’t enough to offset the declines posted by two of the automaker’s more popular trucks.
Lincoln sales were up five percent.
While Nissan Canada’s most popular vehicle — the Rogue — managed to post an eight percent gain in August sales, it wasn’t enough to mitigate decreases elsewhere in the company’s lineup.
Nissan reported total sales of 12,238 vehicles, down eight percent from a year earlier.
Rogue sales totaled 3,725 units while the Kicks compact crossover posted sales of 1,672 units, up 125 percent from August 2018.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf EV, Sentra and Versa Note all slumped by more than 40 percent each. Leafs sales were down 61 percent to 411 units; Sentra sales were off 44 percent to 530 vehicles; and Versa Note sales dropped 69 percent to 154.
Meanwhile, on the truck side, Murano sales sank nine percent to 1,051 units while Qashqai sales decreased 25 percent to 1,537 units.
Total sales of Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand were down 16 percent to 1,012 vehicles.
SUBARU SLIDES 6%
Subaru saw sales of its most popular cars and trucks take a downturn in August.
Total sales were down six percent to 4,730 vehicles when compared with a year ago.
Impreza was the biggest loser, down 11 percent to 802 units. Forester sales were down one percent to 1,066 units, but remained the automaker’s second best-selling vehicle, behind the Crosstrek.
Outback sales were off six percent to 845 units while sales of the still relatively new Ascent were down 10 percent to 303.
Forester sales inched up one percent to 1,066.