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Record-setting Canadian vehicle sales continued in August: Scotiabank

U.S. fleet volumes began to stabilize from the double-digit decline of recent months, Scotiabank also said.


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September 6, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

Vehicle sales in Canada continued its record-setting pace in August 2017, with passenger vehicle sales advancing 7% above a year ago, and establishing a new record for the month of August.

According to a new report from Scotiabank, purchases remained above an annualized 2 million units last month, as both domestic and imported brands posted double-digit year-over-year (y/y) gains in light truck sales.

“Pickup trucks led the way in August, surging more than 20% above a year earlier, alongside robust gains on the Prairies and a rebound in business investment,” Scotiabank’s latest Auto News Flash said. “The popularity of pickup trucks is greatest in Alberta, with sales of these models soaring more than 30% so far this year in the resource-rich western province. Pickup trucks account for more than 35% of overall sales in Alberta, roughly double their share in the rest of Canada.”

In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales generally fared better than expected in August, Scotiabank said, especially taking into account that Hurricane Harvey forced many dealerships in Texas, the second-largest U.S. auto market, to close for several days. “While last month’s seasonally adjusted sales pace fell to an annualized 16.2 million units, the lowest level in three years, purchases were better than had been feared, especially since the Detroit automakers finally began to see some stabilization in their fleet volumes,” the report said. “During August, fleet purchases from the North American automakers were largely in line with a year ago. This represents a significant improvement from a 14% y/y drop-off through July.”

Purchases are expected to strengthen significantly in coming months, as the residents of Houston begin to replace their vehicles that have been damaged by flooding. For example, in the months after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, sales in the New York area jumped nearly 50% higher.