The auto industry’s 2018 sales books are closed, and all the numbers are in. Using data from Automotive News Canada, let’s look at some winners, losers and observations. The Ford F-150 remained the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the country. The Honda Civic retained the best-selling car crown, and the Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling SUV.
Overall industry sales were flat. Canadians bought, or leased 2,003,506 light vehicles in 2018, down 40,000 (0.4%) from 2017. Against that steady market, car sales continued to decline, dropping 7% to 594,472 units. Anyone questioning the earlier decision by Ford, and the recent one by GM to discontinue some car production, only has to look at that trend. Sales of Ford cars alone were down 20%.
Light trucks were up marginally (0.4%). But that number is misleading. Numbers for the mega-selling F-150 and Ram were down 6% and 14% respectively, a drop of 23,500 units. SUVs to the rescue! SUVs are classified as light trucks by the feds. The increase in their popularity more than offset the drop in pickup sales.
The continued switch from cars to “light duty” vehicles or SUVs was especially evident in the luxury segment. Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes all reported a decline in car and an increase in SUV sales.
- Volvo, Land Rover and Mitsubishi had a great year, readily outpacing the industry.
- FCA had a bad one. Sales were off 16% for the company as a whole. Chrysler cars were down, 51%; Chrysler minivans, -3%; Dodge cars, -18%, Dodge SUVs, -33%; Ram truck, -14%, Fiat, -72% and Maserati was down 39%. The only bright spot was Jeep which showed a 1.8% improvement.
- Volkswagen recovered from “dieselgate”, with the new Tiguan and Atlas SUVs accounting for almost all of the gains.
- Tesla and Genesis reported huge increases, but there was no full data from 2017 for comparison.
In descending order of sales:
- Ford, 297,902 units, down 3%
- GM, 288,310 units, down 5%
- Toyota /Lexus, 231,646 units, up 3%
- FCA, 225,653 units, down 16%
- Honda/Acura, 195,379 down 1%
- Nissan/Infiniti, 149,117 units, up 2%
- Hyundai/Genesis, 129,280 units, down 1%
- Volkswagen Group, 118,448, up 4%
- Kia, 73,009 units, down 5%
- Subaru, 58,070 units, up 6%
- Mercedes-Benz, 49,758 units, down 5%
- BMW, 45,086 units, up 8%
- Mitsubishi, 25,237 units, up 11%
- Jaguar/ Land Rover, 14,545 units, up 6%
- Volvo, 9,217 units, up 30%