U.S. Automakers Post Healthy Canadian Sales

Detroit's big automakers all posted healthy June sales gains in Canada even as their leading Japanese competitors saw sales stall during the month.

TORONTO (CP) -- Detroit's big automakers all posted healthy June sales gains in Canada even as a couple of their leading Japanese competitors saw sales stall during the month and South Korea's Hyundai continued to make inroads.

General Motors was the latest of the big North American carmakers to report, announcing Monday that sales of its "core" Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles increased 53.5 percent to 24,897 in June, compared with 16,221 vehicles in June 2009.

If discontinued brands such as Pontiac are included, sales for the month totalled 25,646 vehicles, a 16.4 percent increase over the 22,034 sold in the year-ago period, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, a Toronto-area industry analysis firm.

For the year to date, GM sales for its core brands are up 20.9 percent at 117,073 vehicles compared with 96,826 in the first half of 2009, the automaker said. However, overall sales when discontinued models are included are down 7.6 percent at 123,138 vehicles compared with 133,224 last year, DesRosiers said.

Ford Canada had sales of 31,706 sales for the month, a 15.8 percent increase over the 27,373 vehicles it sold the previous June and its best monthly result since May 2000, the company said last week. Its year-to-date sales totalled 132,692 vehicles, up 23.1 percent from 107,804 last year.

Meanwhile, Chrysler Canada reported that its June sales soared 101.4 percent to 18,454 vehicles compared with 9,161 in June 2009, marking its seventh consecutive month of more than 20 percent growth. Year-to-date sales are 105,110, up 36.6 percent from 76,936, DesRosiers said.

Both Toyota Canada Inc. and Honda. meanwhile, produced disappointing results in June.

Toyota Canada saw is sales stall for the third month in a row, down 13.8 percent at 16,036 Toyota and Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs. The breakdown by brand included 14,607 Toyota models, down 15.1 percent, and 1,429 Lexus luxury vehicles, up 1.9 percent.

Toyota Canada's sales also fell in May, dropping 16.1 percent to 17,879 vehicles including its Lexus brand. The Japanese automaker had been resilient in Canada up until the end of March, despite a global recall of millions of its vehicles for problems ranging from sticky accelerator pedals to instability in its Lexus sport utility vehicles, but sales have since fallen each month by double-digit amounts.

Honda, the No. 2 Japanese carmaker, also reported a dropoff in June sales, down 14 percent to 11,889 units among its Honda and Acura brands combined. The carmaker saw sales down 13 percent at 10,450 units and sales at the luxury Acura division dropped 21 percent to 1,439.

Hyundai, on the other hand, saw its sales jump 13.8 percent in June to 11,501 vehicles compared with 10,104 in June 2009.

In a brief commentary, DesRosiers noted that "with the exception of February every month this year the market was leaner than most had predicted."

"(But) June puts Canada back on track for a respectable sales year. This puts June in line with most June months this past decade, a little softer than most but still very respectable."

The latest figures confirm Ford as the market leader in Canada in June, a spot it also claimed in May when it sold 26,110 vehicles, ahead of General Motors, which came in second with sales of 25,995.

Ford also remains the leader year to date, with 16.9 percent of market share compared with 15.7 for General Motors and 13.4 for Chrysler.

Toyota is in fourth place with 10.9 percent of the market so far this year, while its luxury Lexus division has 0.9 percent; Honda and it luxury Acura division have a combined 8.4 percent of the market and Hyundai 7.9 percent.

GM and Chrysler both filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and managed to survive with billions of dollars in U.S., Canadian and Ontario government loans.

Meanwhile, smaller manufacturers Subaru, Kia and Nissan also reported big sales gains in June.

Kia Canada Inc. sold 5,864 vehicles in June, the most in its 11-year history, and marked 18 months of year-over-year sales increases. So far this year, South Korean-owned Kia Canada has sold 26,506 units, a 19.9 percent increase over the first six months of 2009.

Nissan Canada Inc. also reported its best June to date, selling 7,248 vehicles, an increase of 8.6 percent over 2009. For the first half of the year, sales for Nissan Canada are up 5.2 percent over 2009. Nissan brand sales totalled 7,248 units in June and its luxury Infiniti brand sold 809 vehicles.

Mazda sales were up 7.6 percent at 7,218 in June, Volkswagen sold 4,479 vehicles, down 0.8 percent, while Audi's sales rose 11.7 percent to 1,235.

Mercedes-Benz saw Canadian sales of 2,876, up 11.5 percent, while BMW's sales were up 0.1 percent at 3,006.

Subaru reported monthly sales were up 31.4 percent at 2,316 vehicles, while Mitsubishi sales were off eight percent at 1,604.

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