With 1.7 million light-vehicle sales in January, Canada’s auto industry is off to a good start in 2013.
According to Dennis DesRosiers, one of Canada’s leading automotive analysts, sales were soft in both November and December, leading many in the industry to express concern.
The strength of the seasonally adjusted numbers, however, should alleviate some of this anxiety, he said, even though actual sales in January were down by 2.2 percent from the banner first month of 2012.
According to DesRosiers’ newsletter, Chrysler was the top selling retailer of light vehicles in January with 16,928 units sold (+2.7% year-over-year). Having taken first place last January as well, this was a repeat performance; strong January sales foretold an excellent full-year sales performance at Chrysler, with the Detroit-based automaker finishing ahead of GM at year-end. Holding this number one position for January should be interpreted as positive for Chrysler.
Ford was actually the big winner in January with sales up 8.1 percent and a 17.0 percent share of the market. GM displayed new vigour with a 6.2 percent sales improvement in a market that was down 2.2 percent overall. This ran counter to GM’s underwhelming 2012 performance.
A majority of import nameplate brands were down in January. Only Volkswagen, Land Rover, Jaguar (on very limited volumes), Porsche and Mazda showed sales growth. Surprisingly, both Kia and Hyundai saw sales declines, breaking the former brand’s 48 month consecutive sales streak. In this industry, streaks ultimately end as no company can grow month-in and month-out forever.
The Detroit Three enjoyed a great month, growing their combined market share from 45.6 percent to 49.2 percent. We take notice of tenths of market share change, so this large of movement is quite significant. Holding it for the rest of the year will be a challenge.