Canadian new-vehicle sales were essentially flat in October, down just an estimated 0.9 percent when compared to the same month a year ago, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Trucks once again dominated, spurring the head of the Global Automakers of Canada to warn the incoming Liberal government that "focusing solely on the sale of ZEV vehicles" won't do enough to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Automakers sold an estimated 160,969 new vehicles last month, according to the center.
Monthly sales totals are estimates now that the Detroit 3 automakers have turned to quarterly sales reports.
DesRosiers Automotive Consultants in Toronto estimated sales to be down 0.1 percent to 160,216 units.
Automakers have now sold 1.67 million new vehicles through the first 10 months of 2019, down 3.8 percent year-over-year.
Still, David Adams, head of the Global Automakers of Canada, remains optimistic.
“Light vehicle sales are over 1.6 million vehicles – which used to represent a very good total calendar year sales volume — so things are slowing down, but it is not drastic,” Adams said in a statement Friday.
Canadian new-vehicle sales have fallen in 19 of the last 20 months, according to the data center. Despite an initial report of a 0.1 percent decline in August, sales that month were actually up by 0.5 percent once the Detroit 3 reported quarterly numbers, which led the data center to adjust its original August total.
While Adams was optimistic about October’s total, he took the opportunity to issue a warning to the incoming Liberal minority government led by Justin Trudeau.
“The newly elected federal government will need to be aware that while the industry is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our products, that is not going to be accomplished by focusing solely on the sale of ZEV vehicles,” he said. “The numbers speak for themselves – more than three quarters of consumers are choosing to purchase light duty trucks and SUVs.”
Sedan sales fell 16 percent while truck sales rose five. Truck sales represented 76.1 percent of the new-vehicle market in October.
“At the present moment, the industry does not have a lot of electric-vehicle offerings in those market segments,” Adams said. “Regulators, and more importantly consumers, need to know that these vehicles will be coming to market in the very near future, but rather than mandating electric-vehicle targets, a formal collaborative partnership between the industry and the government would allow Canada to maximize GHG emissions reductions from our products.”
Prior to the campaign, the Liberals implemented a $5,000 incentive on zero-emissions vehicles. The Liberals plan to expand that incentive and provide a 10 percent rebate — up to a maximum of $2,000 — on a used zero-emission vehicle. The government also intends to install up to 5,000 charging stations along the Trans Canada Highway and other major road networks.
Toyota in October continued to build on its annual electrified-vehicle sales record with 3,498 units sold, up 56 percent during the month. It’s now sold an annual record of 55,821 electrified vehicles with two months to go. In fact, Toyota in September surpassed its previous annual electrified-vehicles sales record set in 2018.
Here’s a look at how some of the automakers fared in October:
Subaru super month
Subaru set an October sales record with 5,641 units sold, up 3 percent over a year ago.
The automaker’s small vehicles had a strong month, with the Impreza and Crosstrek both outpacing the previous October sales by 25 percent and 44 percent, respectively. The all new Outback saw a nine percent increase compared to last year.
Toyota Canada saw its total October sales fall 4 percent.
Sales of Toyota brand car fell eight percent to 6,640 units when compared with 2018 October sales. Truck sales were down 3 percent to 18,247 units over the same time.
Prius sales surged 232 percent to 1,133 units, but it wasn’t enough to offset a 45-percent drop in Camry sales and 53-percent decrease in Yaris sales. The Corolla remained the brand’s top-selling car at 4,245 vehicles sold, down 1 percent from a year ago.
On the truck side, RAV4 sales were up 13 percent and with 6,348 sold, it was the automaker’s top-selling vehicle. RAV4 hybrid sales of 1,574 units, up 95.5, is a new October record for the vehicle.
But Tacoma and Tundra sales were down 7 percent and 47 percent, respectively, to 1,078 and 617 units each.
Toyota Canada suffered particularly steep declines in the low-volume luxury sedan segment. Lexus car sales were off 41 percent to 435 units, with sales of the ES down 48 percent to 179. Even the top-selling IS had its sales fall 24 percent to 220 units.
Nissan sales plunge 13%
Nissan Canada sales were down 13 percent in October when compared with the same month a year ago.
Total car sales, including the luxury Infiniti brand took the biggest hit, down 41 percent to just 1,777 units sold across the country.
Nissan brand sales were down 12.8 percent to 9,854 units. While the Rogue remained the automaker’s top-selling vehicles, its sales were off 15.5 percent to 2,812 units. The Nissan Sentra took one of the biggest hits by percentage, down 55 percent to 469 units.
The subcompact Kicks CUV continued to surge, up 159 percent to 1,616 units.
Infiniti sales decreased 17 percent to 751 vehicles sold.
Detroit 3 estimates
FCA October sales were estimated to be up 9 percent to 15,970 units.
Ford’s estimated sales totaled 20,997 vehicles, down 2 percent.
And GM’s Canadian sales were off an estimated 7 percent to 21,656 units.