Dramatic drop for November new vehicle sales

New-vehicle sales in Canada in November suffered their biggest drop of the year, down 9.4% from the same month in 2017, which was itself down from the year before. November 2018’s 143,668 sales were nearly 15,000 units short of last year and the ninth consecutive month of continuous decline.

Year-to-date sales of 1,870,703 vehicles were off 2.3% from a year ago, which translates to about 44,000 units, virtually guaranteeing that 2018’s sales will fall short of 2017’s record — the first year not to achieve year-over-year growth since 2009, according to Dennis Desrosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC).

“However, 2018 is close to 50,000 units ahead of 2016 and is on pace to be the second highest market of all time; (so) the glass definitely remains half full,” said DesRosiers.

From the glass-half-empty perspective, on the other hand, November’s SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Sales Rate), was only about 1.9-million, equalling its lowest level in the past two years.

“Despite an increase in consumer confidence of over two points in November — according to TradingEconomics.com — that (increase) has not translated into higher vehicle sales,” observed David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada.

Passenger-car sales continued their precipitous slide, down 11.4% in November, but unlike most earlier months in 2018, truck and SUV sales were also down by 8.7%. As a result, light trucks share of the market relaxed slightly to 70.7% through the first 11 months. That figure is still up 2.4% from a year ago, however, leaving just a 29.3% share for passenger cars.

Detroit Three all suffer declines
While the Detroit Three all suffered declines in November, Ford’s 10.7% drop to 21,223 units sold was the least of the three, leaving the Blue Oval in first place for both the month and the year. Sales of 281,855 units year-to-date are down 3.1% from last year, lowering Ford’s market share by 0.1% to 15.1%.

General Motors fared second best on the month, with 19,286 sales down 18.3% from last November. Year-to-date sales are down 3.0% and GM has given up 0.1% in market share, to 14.7%.

For the fifth consecutive month, Toyota surpassed FCA to claim third place, upsetting the downward trend with 16,787 sales, up 11.5% from a year ago. Year-to-date, Toyota remains in fourth place with 193,382 vehicles sold, up 2.5% from last year. As a result, Toyota’s market share is up 0.4%, to 10.3% — the biggest gain in the industry.

While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA’s) sales remain strong south of the border, they continue to decline in Canada. FCA again ranked fourth in November, with sales of 12,366 units down 35.1% from a year ago. FCA remains solidly in third place year-to-date, with 212,966 sales, but that total is down 14.6% from a year ago, giving up 1.6% in market share to 11.4%.

Honda was just a few-hundred units behind FCA in fifth-place for November, with sales of 11,977 units down 10.2% from a year ago. Year-to-date sales of 166,031 vehicles through 11 months are down 1.7% but market share is up by 0.1% to 8.9%.

Still tight in the midfield
Nissan once again squeezed past Hyundai to reclaim sixth place for the month, with 10,444 sales, up 1.3% from last November. The Japanese brand maintained sixth place for the year-to-date as well, with total sales up 1.9%, and a 0.2% gain in market share to 6.8%.

Hyundai remained close behind in November with 10,068 units sold, a 10.0% gain from a year ago. The Korean brand remained in seventh-place for the year-to-date as well, with cumulative sales down by 1.2% and a 0.1% share decline 6.5%.

With 5,846 sales in November, Volkswagen again claimed eighth place for the month, despite a 2.6% decline from a year ago. VW remained in 10th place for the year-to-date, however, with cumulative sales of 67,314 vehicles up 2.8% and a 0.2% increase in market share to 3.6%.

Kia claimed ninth place for the month, with 5,400 sales, a 17.3% decline. Year-to-date, the Korean brand remains ninth as well, with 68,707 sales down by 4.7% and market share off by 0.1% to 3.7%.

Mazda fell to 10th-place for November, with 5,104 sales, a decline of 14.8%. Year-to-date, however, Mazda remains in eighth place with a 0.7% cumulative increase and a 0.1% share bump to 3.7%.

Subaru retained 11th place with a solid 4.8% sales increase for the month and 6.7% year-to-date, while Mercedes-Benz remained the luxury car leader in 12th place, in spite of a 15.9% monthly decline. Mercedes sales are off by 5.2% for the year-to-date. Further down luxury-car ranks, BMW extended its second-place lead over Audi for both the month and the year-to-date.

Winners and losers
On a percentage basis, the biggest winners in November were Genesis (+155.8%), Porsche (+14.0%), Land Rover (+13.2%), Audi (+11.8%), Toyota (+11.5%), and Hyundai (+10.0%).

The biggest losers, in percentage terms, were Maserati (-57.9%), FCA (-35.1%), Smart (-28.6%), Acura (-22.4%), General Motors (-18.3%), Kia (-17.3%), Volvo (-17.2%), Mercedes-Benz (-15.9%), Mazda (-14.8%), Mitsubishi (-11.8%), Ford (-10.7%), and Honda (-10.2%).

About Gerry Malloy

Gerry Malloy is one of Canada's best known, award-winning automotive journalists.

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