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Record-setting vehicle sales pace continues in Canada: Scotiabank

But U.S. purchases were mixed in February, Scotiabank said, with each of the Detroit automakers reporting lower sales.


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March 2, 2018 by Canadian Plastics

The record-setting vehicle sales pace in Canada continued in February 2018, a new report from Scotiabank said, with sales advancing two per cent above February 2017.

“We estimate that purchases totalled an annualized 2.07 million units last month, marginally below the previous month’s pace, but well ahead of the full-year 2017 total,” Scotiabank said in its latest Auto News Flash. “So far this year, purchases have averaged an annualized 2.09 million units, a much stronger performance than our projection for all of 2018.”

Five automakers posted double-digit year-over-year sales gains last month, the report said, with the advances powered by light trucks. “These models now account for more than 72 per cent of the Canadian new vehicle market, up from less than 60 per cent four years ago and only 45 per cent a decade ago,” Scotiabank said. “In contrast, car sales declined six per cent year-over-year (y/y) last month, with only four automakers bucking the downward trend.”

In the U.S., meanwhile, purchases were mixed in February, with each of the Detroit automakers reporting lower sales. “We estimate that purchases totalled an annualized 17 million units last month, held back by double-digit declines in most car segments and a nine per cent y/y slump in pickup truck volumes for the Detroit 3,” Scotiabank said. “Last month’s weak pickup truck performance is likely to prove temporary, as automakers indicate that orders for new trucks have picked up since the enactment of U.S. tax reform.”

Furthermore, the report said, the industry is planning to increase light truck assemblies across North America by three per cent y/y between April and June. “The ramp -up in production will be even greater for medium and heavy trucks due to surging demand and tight capacity in the North American trucking industry,” Scotiabank said.