Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said General Motors led the country in total sales.
Canadian new-vehicle sales surged unexpectedly in May as several automakers set multiple new records.
Sales were up 11.3 per cent to 217,123 over the same month last year (195,080 sales) and up 4.6 per cent year to date over the first five months of 2016, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Canadian auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers wrote in a note that the total number of vehicles sold "smashed all previous monthly records," the news agency Reuters said.
Ford of Canada topped all OEMs by selling 34,475 total vehicles, a 17.4 per cent increase over May 2016.
General Motors reported 31,149 total vehicles sold, up 35.8 per cent while enjoying its best May since 2009.
“Our refreshed lineup of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles are resonating with Canadians,” John Roth, vice-president, sales, service and marketing for GM Canada said in a statement. Sales momentum continued in May “as we remain focused on building our brands, growing retail sales and maintaining a disciplined approach to daily rental deliveries.”
Pickup sales continued to be strong for GM in May, up 43 per cent year-over-year and led by the Chevrolet Silverado (up 45 per cent) and GMC Sierra (up 43 per cent).
The Canadian-built Chevrolet Equinox also saw sales growth, up 42 per cent. Overall, GM’s total utility vehicles sales were up 38 per cent year-over-year.
Even sales of compact cars and sedans were up for the automaker, whose total car sales were up 27 per cent. The new Chevrolet Cruze was up 122 per cent and the Impala up 59 per cent.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda and Nissan all set records of note.
FCA reported its highest monthly sales in the company’s 92-year history, without including Maserati. The automaker sold 33,186 vehicles, a 4.8 per cent increase over May 2016.
The Ram brand was key in FCA Canada having its highest monthly sales. Ram itself set an all-time monthly sales record of 15,524 units sold, an increase of 61 per cent compared with the same month last year. Ram’s light- and heavy-duty pickups achieved their own an all-time monthly sales record of 14,990 units sold.
Jeep Grand Cherokee rose 22 per cent with 2,421 sold.
Meanwhile, Nissan Group reported total Canadian sales of 13,943 vehicles in May, an increase of 5.6 per cent and its best May total ever for combined sales of Nissan and Infiniti brands.
Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in Canada, the Rogue, set a May sales record at 4,172. It marked an increase of 18.3 per cent. The Nissan Titan full-size pickup sold 386 units, a new May record and an increase of 120.6 per cent.
Utility vehicles lift Honda
Honda Canada set an all-time monthly sales record in May selling 20,975 vehicles, up 11.9 per cent over the same month in 2016.
Honda’s light truck lineup helped the automaker set the new record, which eclipsed the previous best of 19,175 total units sold in March 2017. The Ridgeline had its best May with 489 sales versus the previous best in 2007 with 451.
The HR-V and CR-V both posted new monthly sales records, too, 1,687 and 4,435 units sold, respectively.
The Honda brand alone accounted for 19,175 vehicles sold in May. It was the first time the automaker sold more than 19,000 units in a month.
The Acura Division reported May sales of 1,800 units, up 15 per cent over last year.
“May was a solid turnaround month for the Acura division, with its SUVs and ILX luxury sedan performing well,” Jean Marc Leclerc, senior vice-president of sales and marketing said in a statement.
Toyota Canada sales rebounded in May, increasing by 7.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2016.
The automaker suffered a 9.9 per cent drop in April but strong sales of its luxury Lexus brand helped the automaker recover in May. Canadians bought 2,282 Lexus vehicles in May, up 11.9 per cent over the same month in 2016.
Meanwhile, Toyota brand sales advanced also increasing almost as much at 11.6 per cent with 21,602 vehicles sold. Only the lingering end of the Scion brand dragged down sales. Nine of the remaining Scion vehicles were sold in May, compared with 759 a year ago.
Through the first five months of 2017, Toyota Canada's total sales are essentially flat, down just 0.6% from last year.