After a disappointing end to 2022, Canadian new vehicle sales in 2023 saw a solid rebound.
DesRosiers Automotive Consultants reported sales of 1,664,000 units last year, a 12 per cent increase from the fewer than 1.5 million in 2022.
The increase was thanks to improved vehicle supply, particularly in the second half of the year. December was a strong month with about 120,000 vehicles sold, 1n 11 per cent increase from the same time in 2022.
That now puts year-over-year growth at 14 straight months with sales up in all provinces, as supply and demand match up. DesRosiers noted that 2023’s fourth quarter “was remarkably robust.” It reported a 17 per cent sales increase and a seasonally adjusted annual rate of near or above 1.8 million units.
DesRosiers credited pent-up demand from the lost sales years between 2020 and 2022. High interest rates and concerns over economic weakness didn’t seem to deter many buyers.
DesRosiers has predicted that while such economic trepidation and concerns for personal finance would usually deter buyers, 2023 would not see buyers shy away from dealerships over these concerns. That turned out to be an accurate forecast.
“Of the many remarkable aspects of 2023’s performance, one of the most notable was the continued gain in light truck share,” observed Andrew King, the firm’s managing partner. “For 2023, light trucks continued to push out an ever-shrinking pool of passenger cars, with trucks reaching a record share of 85.8 per cent for the year, as Canadian consumers enjoyed the freedom to choose the vehicles they want to purchase.”
General Motors led in total sales with 263,084 units for the year, up 15 per cent from 2022. Mitsubishi saw the biggest sales increase, up 62 per cent compared to the previous year.