It’s been a while since Canada saw such a weak number of new vehicle sales.
With 1.49 million units sold in 2022, it was the first time since 2009 that the final number failed to cross 1.5 million, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
Sales were also down 9 per cent from last year overall, despite promising signs to start the year. In January, the seasonally adjusted annual rate put vehicle sales at 1.67 million. But it was not to be as “things deteriorated rapidly,” DesRosiers noted in its analysis.
That said, there is a glimmer of hope. The fall months have provided year-over-year increases. December 2022 closed out with a 5.5 per cent increase compared to 2021.
“To be sure, it has been what we here at DAC have termed a ‘U2’ recovery — uneven and unequal — with huge disparities between manufacturers’ inventory recovery,” its analysis said. “However, we can but hope that 2023 breaks the trend of the last three years and provides the industry with a string of sales gains through the first months of the year.”
Ford held on to the top spot in overall sales volume. Its 240,325 units sold for the year were only slightly below its 2021 results.
But the outlook as to what might happen this year is anything but clear. “The big question that lies ahead will be the balance between improved vehicle inventory, pent-up demand and deteriorating economic conditions,” observed managing partner Andrew King. “It could well be that vehicle sales in Canada climb even as the country enters a recession.”
“And that is hard to digest as a forecaster,” he said at TalkAuto, hosted by Canadian Black Book. “But I think if you look at the obviously the progression of where things have come, we’re still well below demand from a supply standpoint.”