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Demand for trucks boosts Canada auto sales in January 2015


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February 4, 2015 by Canadian Plastics

Demand for trucks in Canada helped automakers boost their sales in January 2015 by 3.4% to 99,051 vehicles, while sales of passenger cars dwindled.

However, Scotiabank analyst Carlos Gomes says the “torrid” pace of growth in pickup truck sales has slowed to a single-digit gain, likely due to softening demand from the oil and gas industry.

“Purchases continued to advance, climbing 3.4% above a year earlier in January and leaving the industry on track to scale new heights in 2015,” Gomes wrote in the Scotiabank auto sales report for January 2015. “However, we estimate that sales eased to a seasonally adjusted 1.80 million units last month, down from a blistering pace of 1.93 million in the final months of 2014. Despite the sequential moderation, several automakers reported record volumes for the month of January, and the industry’s overall performance was the best annual kick-off in six years.”

Chrysler Canada Inc. sold 18,054 vehicles in January, up two per cent from the 17,698 it sold a year ago. While truck sales edged up 8.5 per cent to 16,306 from 15,023, car sales slipped nearly 35 per cent to 1,748, from 2,675.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. also saw its car sales shrink while truck sales grew. The automaker sold 1,994 cars in January, down 28.5 per cent from the 2,787 it sold a year ago. However, truck sales climbed 7.2 per cent to 12,597, from 11,746 previously. In total, Ford sold 14,591 vehicles in January, up slightly from 14,533 a year ago.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. sold 7,122 vehicles, a 12 per cent boost from January 2014, when it sold 6,360. Toyota Canada Inc.’s sales grew 7.6 per cent to 10,249, while Honda Canada Inc.’s slipped 3.9 per cent to 6,554.

In the U.S., meanwhile, new vehicle sales got off to what Gomes called a “fast start”, posting another double-digit year-over-year increase, despite harsh winter weather across a substantial portion of the country. “We estimate sales totalled an annualized 16.6 million units, in line with the 2014 full-year total,” Gomes wrote. “Purchases continue to be buoyed by a strengthening labour market, the highest consumer confidence in a decade and the sharp fall-off in gasoline prices. Light trucks continued to lead the way, with sales of crossover utility vehicles and pickups surging roughly 20% year-over-year at the Detroit Three, enabling them to continue to gain market share. More importantly, the number of Americans indicating that this is a good time to buy a new vehicle continues to climb, and is now at decade highs.”