Canadian auto sales were down slightly overall in April, with the majority of volume manufacturers experiencing a decline. Ford retained the lead, but FCA slipped enough to allow GM past into second overall for the year to date. But that is a precarious position. the margin, between runner-up and third is less than 1,600 units out of a total of more than 600,000!
Generally speaking cars were off – again – by 4% this time while light trucks, which includes utility vehicles of all sizes, enjoyed a 6% gain. Despite the dip in April, sales for the year-to-date remain ahead of last year thanks to the strong first quarter.
Jaguar, Porsche and Subaru all enjoyed their best April in history. Of particular note for those of us in the eastern part of the country, Subaru’s Atlantic zone led the way with a 40% increase in sales for the month, all other zones were up as well, but by a much smaller amount.
Other than General Motors, the major (volume) manufacturers saw sales remain flat or drop in April. GM witnessed a 16% improvement over April 2016, with pickups up 20%. It was the fourth consecutive month of increased sales for GM. FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) sales were off 9%, principally because of a 35% drop in Jeep numbers. Ram sales remained the bright spot for the company with a 10% improvement.
Ford squeaked out a 0.2% increase. It was a record April for F-Series, up 3%. Cars suffered mightily as virtually all utility vehicle lines showed an increase: Escape, 4%; Edge, 22%; Explorer, 20%, Expedition, 134%; Transit Van, 23%, C-Max, 7% and Navigator, 20%. Honda sales were up 6%, Hyundai was even, Kia down 6.5%, Mazda down 9%, Nissan down 8% and Toyota 10%.
But the big loser was Volkswagen where sales plummeted 30% compared to April 2016.
Other than Acura (-23%) and Land Rover (-10%), luxury car manufacturers had a good month in Canada: Mercede, 4%; Volvo, 5.5%; Audi, 8%; Porsche, 10%; Lexus, 11%; Infiniti, 13% and Jaguar up 157%.
In that monster market south of the border, where sales in each of several states are greater than all of Canada, the numbers were down 5% overall. All three of the domestic manufacturer saw a decline of 6-7%. Honda, Nissan and Toyota sales were also down.