GM tops October sales as record run continues

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Things are tightening up at the top of the Canadian sales charts as the auto industry continues its charge towards a fifth consecutive record year and a first-ever tally of more than 2-million new vehicles sold in a calendar year.

For the ninth time this year, October set a new sales record for the month with 164,214 new cars, trucks and SUVs delivered, 6.3% more than in the same month last year and 9% ahead of the five-year historical average for the month, according to David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC).

Cumulative sales of 1,755,898 vehicles through the first ten months of 2017 are 5.6% ahead of last year’s record run at this time and already more than the full-year figure for as recently as 2013, when this record run began — with two months still to go!

Perhaps the best news of all, “we expect the hot Canadian market to continue for some time as the economy remains healthy, new model introductions remain at a record pace, interest rates (although creeping up) are still at historical lows, (there’s) better availability of product, and an all-time record level of vehicles (is) being scrapped,” says Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC).

That assessment is supported by October’s SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized sales Rate), which was in the range of 2.15-million, according to DAC. It’s the sixth consecutive month it has topped 2.0-million.

Big month for GM

General Motors, which has been steadily improving its position throughout the year, made a big jump in October with sales of 26,847 new units, up 26.5% from the same month a year ago and easily outpacing Ford for the monthly sales crown.

Ford sold 21,068 new vehicles in October, down 2.0% from a year ago. Year-to-date Ford, which has held the sales crown for six of the last seven years, still holds a healthy lead of 7,760 vehicles over GM, but two more months with a GM sales advantage as great as October’s could turn the tables. What once looked like a runaway for Ford now promises to be an exciting finish!

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ sales were down again in October, by 11.9%. Year-to-date, FCA’s sales are now down by 3.2%, in a strong up-market.

Collectively, the Detroit Three dropped a tenth-of-a point in market share through October, down to  43.1%. GM gained 1.5% (to 14.5%) but FCA and Ford both gave up some share (1.2% and 0.5% respectively).

Fourth-place Toyota had another big month in October, on the strength of its all-new Camry, with monthly sales up by 9.0%, and year-to-date sales ahead by 2.9%. Toyota’s year-to-date share of 9.9% still lags a year ago by a couple tenths, however.

Honda sales were up just 2.0% in October, lagging the market but still solidly ensconced in fifth place. Year-to-date sales are up by 9.3%, increasing Honda’s market share by 0.3% from a year ago, to 8.9% — just 1% behind Toyota.

The fight between Hyundai (+1.5%) and Nissan (+13.1%) for sixth fell to Nissan in October, extending the Japanese brand’s year-to-date advantage with a 9.9% gain, to Hyundai’s 7.3% decline.

The multi-brand battle for eighth place favoured Volkswagen in October, with the German brand registering a dramatic 31.5% sales increase. Mazda (+6.2%) surpassed Kia (+0.4%) for ninth place on the month. Year-to-date, however, the order remains Kia (+6.0%), Mazda (+7.9%) and VW (+12.7%).

Subaru (+2.6%) and Mercedes-Benz (+11.8%), filled out the top 12 for both the month and year-to-date.

Winners and losers

October was a solid month for most manufacturers with several setting all-time records of their own. Notable at the top of the chart for gainers were: Volvo (+57.7%); Volkswagen (+31.5%); and Porsche (+22.6%).

On the other side of the ledger were: Smart (-29.2%); Infiniti (-17.8%); and FCA (-11.9%), along with a few others that experienced slight declines.

Truck sales, including SUVs, increased by 9.7% with 115,471 units sold in October, while passenger car sales declined by 7.9% with just 48,797 units sold. Truck market share continued to grow to to 67.9%, year-to-date, while that for passenger cars declined to just 32.1%.

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

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