Canada’s automotive sector enjoyed its second-best year ever in 2012, selling more than 1.6 million vehicles.
Thanks to pent-up post-recession demand, consumer confidence and buying power, and Japanese automakers looking to diversify their supply chains, the Canadian industry earned pre-tax profits of $1.35 billion last year, while surging double-digit sales growth in the U.S. culminated in a 15% boost to Canadian exports, according to the Conference Board of Canada, an Ottawa-based research agency.
Parts production also ended the year on a high note, increasing by 22.4%, according to the Conference Board
And according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, based in Richmond Hill, Ont., Canadian production was up 24%, producing 2.003 million units through the end of October, compared to 1.6 million units during the same period in 2011.
In the U.S., meanwhile, 15 million units boosted demand for Canadian-made parts, helping to bring overall North American sales to their highest level since 2007.
Ford Motor Company of Canada finished 2012 as the country’s top selling auto maker for the third year in a row, the company announced last week. The Oakville-based company held onto the top spot despite a nearly 13 per cent drop in sales in December to end the year with a zero gain over the previous year.
Chrysler moved into second place, ahead of General Motors, with a 6 per cent increase in annual sales to 243,845 vehicles. That included a 1 per cent increase in December.
As for GM, the company reported a 6.6 per cent decline for the year, to 226,825 vehicles, including a 20 per cent plunge in December.
Meanwhile, the Japanese auto makers continued to make gains in Canada, led by an 18.4 per cent increase in sales at Toyota of Canada. The Toronto-based company said it sold 192,058 vehicles last year to finish fourth among all automakers. Honda/Acura was in fifth position with sales of 148,712 units, up 20.8 percent from 2011. And Kia Canada Inc. said its annual sales in Canada jumped 19.5 per cent to 77,800 vehicles, a record for the 13-year-old company.