Strong June makes first-half Canadian auto sales the best ever!

Sales of 203,486 new cars, trucks and utility vehicles in Canada in June pushed first-half sales over 1-million for the first time ever. It’s the second consecutive month, and only the third time in history, that sales have surpassed 200,000 in a month.

With June sales up 6.5% from a year ago, year-to-do-date sales of 1,039,068 vehicles are 5.0% ahead of 2016’s record first half. Monthly sales were 15% ahead of the five-year historical average for June, according to David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC).

“Another record month in June is phenomenal,” said Adams. “The conditions remain positive for ongoing new car sales in Canada going forward.”

That assessment is reinforced by June’s SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized sales Rate), which was about 2.05 million, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) – the sixth consecutive month in or above the 2-million range.

Despite that exceptional first half, Dennis DesRosiers of DAC cautions that a different picture has been forming in the U.S. where new-vehicle sales have been down for four consecutive months. “Surpassing 2016 with yet another all-time sales record may not be a foregone conclusion should Canada start to follow that trend in the latter half of the year,” he notes.

Ford firmly in front

While it took a few months to get there, Ford now seems firmly in control of the sales race. With 32,758 sales in June (+14.1%), 160,288 through the first half (+7.0%), and a three-tenth gain in share to 15.4%, Ford is well clear of the second-place fight between General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Autos.

GM claimed second place for the month with 27,151 units sold (+4.2%), edging out FCA’s 26,926 sales (-3.1%). But FCA maintains the position year-to-date, albeit barely, with 151,574 sales (-0.6%) to GM’s 150,496 (+15.6%). GM has gained 1.3% of share, to 14.5%, over last year while FCA 8as lost eight-tenths to 14.6%. It promises to be a tight race for second for the remainder of the year.

Behind the top three, fourth-place Toyota’s sales were up 4.0% in June, although they’re down 0.6% through the half, with a share decline of 0.6% to 9.8%.

While still well behind in fifth, Honda is gaining ground with sales up 14.1% in June and 12.2% year-to-date – and a 0.6% increase in market share to 8.7%.

Nissan (+12.4%) surpassed Hyundai (-15.5%) for sixth on the month and edged ahead year-to-date as well, with sales up 7.8%, compared to the Korean firm’s 7.9% decline.

Kia (+8.8%) outpaced Mazda (+4.0%) for eighth in June, and reclaimed the spot year-to-date as well, with a gain of just 1.1%, compared to Mazda’s 6.5%.

Volkswagen, with a huge 30.3% gain in June, took clear control of tenth place, and held it for year-to-date (-10.6%) as well, leaving Subaru (+6.1%) in 11th, followed closely by Mercedes-Benz (+13.1%).

Winners and losers

In percentage terms, the big gainer in June was Maserati (+104.8%), followed by Lexus (+35.5%), Volkswagen (+30.3%), Infiniti (+25.1%) and Audi (+24.3%). The only losers on the month, compared to last May, were Hyundai (-15.5%), FCA (-3.1%) and Land Rover (-1.8%).

June truck sales, including SUVs, were up 10.0% from 2016, while passenger car sales fell marginally by 0.1%. Trucks continued to account for 67.3 % of the market year-to-date, compared to 32.7% for passenger cars.

Unsurprisingly, Ford’s F-Series continued to be the best-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall, while the Honda Civic was the best-selling passenger car.

[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]

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