DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says Canadian new-car sales posted their second annual decrease in a row last year.
According to DesRosiers, some 1,914,357 units were sold in 2019, a decrease of 3.6% when compared to 2018.
This shortcoming marked the first instance of a sequential year-over-year decline in over a decade, a phenomenon not seen since 2008 and 2009. However, 2019 was still the fourth best sales year on record.
“Although passenger car sales fell 16.1%, the light truck side of the market continued to make gains with an increase of 1.6% year-end,” the analysts at DesRosiers stated. “This growing disparity brought the market ever closer to a 75% light truck share at the expense of the waning passenger car segment.”
Mercedes-Benz remained the country’s top luxury manufacturer for the sixth consecutive year. In 2019, Mercedes-Benz Canada achieved sales of 46,090 passenger vehicles, vans and smart units, with 40,324 representing passenger cars and luxury light trucks. This final number was bolstered by solid December 2019 sales of passenger cars and luxury light trucks, with 3,116 units sold.
“Mercedes-Benz Canada’s achievement as the country’s top luxury manufacturer for the sixth consecutive year reflects the fact that the exceptional Mercedes-Benz product lineup continues to resonate with consumers, and we’re extremely proud of that,” said Brian D. Fulton, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada.
FCA Canada closed the fourth quarter of 2019 with a significant sales increase of 14 per cent. For the full year, 223,101 vehicles were sold, with Ram brand leading the charge, achieving six-figure sales.
Porsche Canada’s 760 units sold in December brought the 2019 total to 9,025 — a 1.4% increase over 2018. This represents the first time that the company surpasses the 9,000-unit sales mark.
“This remarkable achievement was a direct result of the continued passion from our customers as well as the dedication of our entire dealer network and the team here at Porsche Canada,” said Marc Ouayoun, president & CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd.
Despite the somewhat subdued overall sales, 2019 was a success story for SUVs with their sales surpassing the 900,000 unit mark for the first time on record, accounting for much of the growth in the market. Canadians’ love for these vehicles ensured that the subcompact, large luxury, large, and luxury compact SUV segments outpaced the overall market by several orders of magnitude with subcompact SUVs claiming the crown as the fastest growing segment with a gain of 28.5% year-end. With these increases, SUV sales grew tantalizingly close to claiming half of the new light vehicle sales market in 2019, reaching nearly 48% by year end.
Some brand and model level highlights for the year:
Ford pulled ahead of the competition and yet again claimed top spot in terms of total sales volume with 287,874 units sold in 2019
Volvo brought a standout performance to bear in 2019, noting an overall 10.2% sales increase for the year and 28.9% for December, outperforming the overall market thanks to the brand’s healthy light truck and passenger car sales
Many of the luxury brands suffered setbacks as the usually strong luxury market showed signs of struggle for the first time since 2008
The perennial segments leaders—the Ford F-Series and Honda Civic—continued to top the sales charts for light trucks and passenger cars respectively with 145,064 and 60,139 units sold year-end
Among the increasingly popular SUVs, the Canadian-made Toyota RAV4 claimed top spot with 65,248 units sold for the year, an increase of 17.8% year-end.
GM, Ford, and FCA sales figures are estimated by DAC monthly. Official year-to-date figures from GM, Ford, and FCA are released quarterly.