A surging GM Canada led Canadian sales to another growth month in August, bolstering predictions of second consecutive record sales year that will likely top two million for the first time.
August’s gain was 6.9 per cent, to a total of 184,376, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit, Mich. With seven growth months out of eight (April dipped 1.5 per cent) the year-to-date increase now stands at 5.2 per cent.
Scotiabank said Tuesday it expects annual sales to now be more than two million vehicles “as both domestic and imported brands posted double-digit year-over-year gains in light truck sales,” the bank said in a statement.
“Pickup trucks led the way in August, surging more than 20 per cent above a year earlier, alongside robust gains on the Prairies and a rebound in business investment,” Scotiabank said.
Ford Canada still leads in sales year-to-date. But in August alone, Ford sales fell 5.9 per cent while GM Canada, so long in the third-place doldrums, surged to the top of the charts.
And that wasn’t a blip. GM Canada has been on a tear in 2017, posting monthly gains of between 16 and 36 per cent in five of the past six months (four per cent in June). The automaker based in Oshawa, Ont., has already overtaken FCA for second spot in YTD sales (FCA sales slumped nine per cent in August) and is now only some 10,000 units behind Ford YTD.
In August, GM vaulted a robust 29 per cent, far outpacing the market as a whole, and GM was at pains to point out that it led in retail sales as well as total sales.
GM’s strength was enough to advance the Detroit Three by a combined 3.7 per cent, but the offshore brands still gained market share with a combined 9.3-per cent improvement.
Ford’s biggest losses came in the car segment, in which Ford sold 3,157 cars, down 14 per cent. But even its reliable truck segment dipped – including a one-per-cent decline for the market-dominating F-Series to 14,062.
Meanwhile sales of GM’s full-size pickups leapt 52 per cent to 13,486 (ChevroletSilverado and GMC Sierra combined). That’s the closest the GM trucks have been to the Ford in a very long time.
FCA’s pickup contender, the Ram, was far behind with 8,043 sales, even though that number was itself an August record.
Overall light-truck sales advanced 10.1 per cent while passenger-car sales essentially stood still.
Apart from Ford and FCA, Hyundai Canada (down 10.5 per cent) was the only automaker that didn’t grow its sales in August – while at the same time its Kia sister brand jumped 15 per cent.
Meanwhile, the gainers were led by the Volkswagen with a stunning 72-per-cent spike to an all-time any-month record for the brand. Volkswagen was boosted by the new Atlas midsize CUV (802 sold) and the redesigned Tiguan (up 155 per cent). Yet its passenger-car sales also grew 39 per cent, paced by 97-per-cent higher sales of the Golf hatchback.
August sales records were claimed by Subaru, Nissan Canada, Porsche and Toyota trucks.
Greg Layson contributed to this report.