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Canadian auto purchases rose in February: Scotiabank

Auto sales in the U.S. fell for a second consecutive month, a new report from Scotiabank also said.


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March 4, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Automobile purchases in Canada rose by 2.6% month-on-month (m/m) to 1.96 million annualised units delivered in February, a new report from Scotiabank says, which is their highest monthly total since October 2018.

In year-on-year terms, however, purchases fell for the twelfth consecutive month with 3.7% fewer units sold relative to last February.

Nevertheless, the year-on-year drop is in line with expectations, Scotiabank said in its latest Auto News Flash, given record February sales last year, and the fact that the Canadian auto market appears to be moving toward a medium-term plateau of about 1.9 million units sold per annum.

“We forecast vehicle sales to total 1.93 million units in 2019,” the report said.

According to Scotiabank, Fiat-Chrysler left behind four straight months of double-digit year-on-year declines with a more modest 2.0% year-on-year (y/y) drop in February, supported by an improvement in deliveries of Jeep and Dodge vehicles. “With Ford’s and GM’s respective declines of 1.3% y/y and 9.1% y/y in February, unit sales at the Big Three automakers fell by a combined 4.1% y/y,” Scotiabank said. “Hyundai and Kia handsomely outperformed the rest of the market with unit sales increases of 15.8% y/y and 10.5% y/y, in that order.”

In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales fell for a second consecutive month in both year-on-year (-2.8%) and month-on-month terms (-0.8%) to an estimated 16.46 million units sold in February, below the median analysts’ forecast of 16.8 million units.

Following January’s decline, last month’s drop reflects an adjustment from a strong close to 2018 – when monthly sales averaged 17.5 million annualised units – in addition to harsh weather in the Midwest and East Coast regions and the possible impact of the partial federal government shutdown. “We continue to forecast vehicle sales to fall this year in the U.S. to 16.8 million units delivered down from 2018’s figure of 17.2 million autos sold,” Scotiabank said.

Fiat-Chrysler US sales declined y/y for the first time in eleven months, by 2.3%, the report noted. “The Italo-American automaker saw a massive 8.3% increase in deliveries last year, handily beating its Detroit peers Ford and General Motors, which experienced sales declines of 4.5% and 1.7% in 2018, respectively,” Scotiabank said. “Though GM and Ford no longer publish sales figures on a monthly basis, deliveries of Big Three autos fell by an estimated 5.2% y/y last month.”