New-vehicle sales in Canada fell for the fifth straight month in July, down 3.2 per cent over the same month last year. After a hot start to 2018, sales year-to-date are down 0.5 per cent, decreasing the odds of another record year.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the third-best selling automaker in the country, dragged down the industry numbers with its 33.3-per-cent sales decline in July.
Automakers sold 176,355 new vehicles in July and have sold 1,217,181 units through the first seven months of the year, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit.
Automakers sold a record 2.043 million new vehicles in 2017.
“We’ve had an extended period of sales growth in Canada for eight years now, so at some point the expectation of continued sales growth is unrealistic,” Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) President David Adams said in a statement. “However, if we can move forward with very modest sales declines, the industry will still be in a very healthy position.”
Adams said he is concerned, though.
“Currently, the largest threat to modest sales declines is possible tariff action on autos by the Trump Administration and the retaliatory measures [by Canada] that are likely to follow,” Adams said. “If that happens both the vehicle production and the retail sales components of the Canadian automotive industry will be adversely impacted in a very dramatic way.”
Ford sold the most vehicles in July, with 27,887 units sold, and retained the overall sales lead in Canada through the first seven months of the year.
Ford was also the only one of the Detroit Three companies to post a sales increase for the month.
The Ford F-Series truck line and Honda Civic continued to reign as the best-selling vehicle and passenger car, respectively.
Trucks comprised 69.8 per cent of the market in July compared with 68 per cent last year, according to GAC.
Here’s a look at how some of the automakers fared in July:
FEW GAINS FOR FCA
FCA sold 15,715 vehicles last month, down 33.3 per cent from the 23,551 it sold in July, 2017.
While Chrysler and Alfa Romeo sales were up 38.2 and 12.2 per cent, respectively, their small volume couldn’t offset huge declines in the sales of other brands.
Dodge sales were down 45.6 per cent while Jeep sales dropped 37.1 per cent. Ram sales were down 22.8 per cent.
INFINITI SAVES NISSAN
Nissan Canada reported total sales of 12,717 units in July, a decrease of 0.6 per cent. But the luxury Infiniti division saw record sales for the month with 1,124 units sold, an increase of 14.6 per cent over 2017. The Nissan division sold 11,593 units in July, a decrease of 1.8 per cent.
Sales of the Nissan Sentra compact sedan bucked the trend of watching people flock to trucks and posted sales of 1,389 units in July, up 43 per cent year-over-year. It is the third best-selling vehicle in Nissan’s lineup.
Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in Canada, the Rogue crossover, had what the automaker called “strong sales” with 3,058 vehicles sold in July, but it marked a 2.9 per cent decrease.
F-150 WORKS FOR FORD
Ford Canada’s total sales, including the Lincoln luxury brand, were up 0.9 per cent as the F-150 pickup had its best July on record with 11,110 units sold, the automaker said Wednesday.
Ford sold 27,887 vehicles, including Lincolns, last month.
The entire F series line was down slightly — 0.7 per cent — over last year, having sold 14,124 last month compared with 14,224 a year ago.
The Ford EcoSport, which was late to enter the compact utility vehicle segment, had its best month since its debut, with 761 sold.
Ford brand sales were up 1.1 per cent buy Lincoln sales dropped 7.9 per cent.
LEXUS, RAV4 SALES DOWN FOR TOYOTA
Toyota Canada’s sales dipped 1.4 per cent in July as none of the automaker’s segments posted a gain. Toyota sold 18,698 vehicles last month compared with the 18,961 it sold a year earlier.
Camry and Prius sales were up 52.4 and 13.4 per cent, respectively, but total car sales were dragged down by a 7.3 per cent slide in Corolla sales, which totalled 3,970.
Truck sales were essentially flat — down 0.5 per cent — as the popular RAV4 had a down month with 4,119 sold, good for a 3.9-per-cent decrease over last year.
Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand suffered the worst losses by percentage, down 9.1 per cent overall on the back of a 31.3-per-cent crash in Lexus car sales.
HYUNDAI, KIA FLOURISH
Sales of Hyundai and Kia vehicles were up nine per cent in July as all three brands — Hyundai, Kia and the luxury Genesis line — flourished. Genesis sales, while small by volume at 135 vehicles, were up 145.5 per cent.
Hyundai brand sales were up nine per cent with the Tucson leading the way, up 14.5 per cent to 3,536 units. The automaker also sold 1,611 units of the new Kona, more than offsetting a small dip in total Santa Fe sales.
Kia sales rose 7.9 per cent to 8,101 vehicles on the strength of Sportage, Sedona and Soul sales, up 12.3, 23.3 and 29.3 per cent to 1,456, 995 and 1,522 units, respectively.
Subaru sales were up 13.2 per cent to 5,044 vehicles. The Ascent debuted with 398 sales while the Forester for the first month this year outsold the popular Crosstrek 1,140 to 871 vehicles.