Canadian vehicle purchases down in April: Scotiabank
U.S. passenger vehicle sales were also disappointing, with most automakers reporting lower-than-expected volumes.
Vehicle purchases in Canada edged down from the record performance of recent months, a new report from Scotiabank said, falling 2% below a year earlier in April.
According to the latest Scotiabank Auto News Flash, sales totalled an annualized 1.98 million units last month, down from a record first-quarter average of 2.07 million.
“The moderation was broad-based, with ten automakers reporting lower volumes last month,” the report said. “Light trucks continued to outperform, advancing 2.5% above a year ago, led by a double-digit gain in pickup truck volumes. This likely reflects improving fortunes in Alberta, which accounts for nearly one-quarter of all pickup truck sales in Canada, double the province’s share of overall vehicle purchases.”
In the U.S., meanwhile, passenger vehicle sales declined again last month, with most automakers reporting lower-than-expected volumes. According to Scotiabank, sales totalled an annualized 16.9 million units in April, well below the 17.2 million that had been expected and the second consecutive month below 17 million. “Weak business purchases continue to be the main source of weakness, with fleet volumes for the Detroit Three posting the seventh consecutive double-digit year-over-year fall-off,” the report said. “However, retail volumes also declined in April, reversing the strength of previous months.”
But the current “soft patch” will be reversed, Scotiabank predicts, as employment growth remains solid, interest rates are low, and replacement demand remains intact. “Nearly 40% of all vehicles on the road in the U.S. are at least 13 years old,” the report noted.
Despite last month’s disappointing performance, the industry remains positive about the outlook, the report noted, and increased its second-quarter North American production schedule by 21,000 vehicles. “Through mid-year, assemblies across the NAFTA region are scheduled to advance 2% above a year earlier,” Scotiabank said.
The full Scotiabank report is available at this link.