Light vehicle sales in September reached near record levels, just slightly under the previous high achieved in 2000.
DesRosiers Automotive Consultants reports that Canadians bought 143,143 light vehicles last month. In September 2000 Canadians bought 143,368 units.
The numbers are significant, says DesRosiers, because September is the start of the fall/winter selling season which normally softens each month starting in September, bottoming out in January.
“Such a strong September means that year-end sales in Canada will approach 1.7 million units – not a record but a good starting point for record Canadian sales in 2013,” a release from DesRosiers states. “The SAAR in September was 1.71 million units, very close to a decade-long high. We appear to be finishing the year very strongly.”
According to the consultants, no fewer than 15 brands achieved double digit increases in September, led by a number of niche brands like smart, Porsche, Land Rover and Mini (up by 153.9%, 76.0%, 39.0% and 31.8% respectively). Of the full-line OEMs, Toyota was up by 21.6 percent and Honda was up 21.0 percent. The list of double digit performers is very long and covers OEMs focused on all segments of the market.
“The Detroit three, however, took a pause. GM had a good month, up 11.6 percent, to help balance a difficult year (down 5.8% YTD) but Ford was down by 8.0 percent and Chrysler/Fiat was flat (up by only 1.4%). Collectively they captured only 43.1 percent of the market which is near their historical low market share for any one month.
“If this holds for the year, the Detroit three will have given away all of the market share gained due to government assistance, the Toyota recalls and the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.”
Ford remained the number one seller of vehicles in both September and year-to-date results, while Chrysler/Fiat took second place last month and GM third. Detroit brands were collectively up 0.3 percent while import nameplates were up by 11.6 percent. This continues a year-long issue where Detroit nameplates are totally flat with all the growth on the import side of the market.
These individual OEM sales rank changes are occurring in the context of 6.4 percent total market growth in September which is almost exactly what the market has been tracking at all year (up 6.6% year to date). Interestingly, all the increase in September was on the passenger car side of the market, up 15.0 percent while the light truck side was dead flat. This explains some of the underperformance of Detroit brands last month; Detroit product portfolios are much strong on the light truck side of the market than the car side, so when passenger cars sell well the import brands show better performance.