Auto Service World
News   August 1, 2018   by Allan Janssen

New car sales continue to slow

Despite the decrease, July 2018 remains the fourth largest July by volume on record.

Year-over-year auto sales are down 3.6% in Canada.

According to the latest Canadian sales figures, the sales downturn that began in March has continued into July.

With total sales for the month at 175,317 light vehicles, it was the largest percentage slide so far this year.

According to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, light truck sales declined 1.1% and passenger cars declined 9.0%. Consequently, year-to-date sales remained negative, down a slight 0.7% over last year with light truck sales increasing 3.3% against a 9.0% decrease in passenger car sales. However, even considering the negative overall market, there was notable strength among many brands.

The Genesis brand continued ramping up sales and recorded a 145.5% sales increase in July. Volvo, which has seen sales increase 43.4% year-to-date, has witnessed a 47.5% sales increase in July 2018 as sales of the Volvo XC40 help push the brand forward. Following at a distance, Infiniti garnered 14.6% sales increase in July despite slowdowns earlier in the year. Subaru similarly witnessed a 13.2% sales increase, aided by their new offering of the Subaru Ascent. Mitsubishi, which has been seeing strong sales in 2018, recorded an 11.6% sales increase for July and rounded out the double digit sales increase for the month.

The largest sales decrease for the month was noted by FCA, down 33.3% with a discrepancy of nearly eight thousand units; this decline in volume from one of the three largest automakers was one of the primary contributors to the 3.6% decline in the Canadian market. This decline also solidified General Motors (-2.4%) firmly in the second place position in terms of total volume for the month.

Despite the decrease, July 2018 remains the fourth largest July by volume on record.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., July sales have led IHS Markit to revise its full-year projection for 2018. It now pegs the end-of-year sales total to come in at 17.0 million units, down from 2017’s 17.25 million units.

This summer, consumers continued moving toward utility vehicles, and the sale of traditional passenger cars continue to decline overall.

According to Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit, automakers have been adjusting production to meet the demand changes.

“Inventory of cars has been declining,” she said, “which can ease pressure for incentive-driven sales. In recent months, industry-wide incentives on light trucks have been increasing while incentives on passenger cars decline.

Over the second half of 2018, IHS Markit forecasts about 15 all-new or redesigned utility vehicles will go on sale in the U.S., compared with about 10 sedans.

The company believes that as the utility vehicle segments become more crowded, marketing and sales strategies will need to become more refined, and incentives may continue to increase.

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