EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect October sales total for General Motors Canada, which led to an understated industry sales total for the month.
New-vehicle sales fell for the seventh consecutive month in Canada in October, a trend the Global Automakers of Canada called “disconcerting.”
Automakers sold 158,153 new vehicles last month, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit. Year-to-date sales — now at 1,735,629 units — fell for a third straight month.
“We’ve seen interest rates rise and, despite a rather significant increase in consumer confidence as measured by the Conference Board of Canada, that confidence does not seem to have extended to big ticket items like vehicles, which are more sensitive to interest rate increases,” David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada said in a statement.
The Bank of Canada has increased its overnight lending rate five times since last summer. It now stands at 1.75 per cent. The rate affects everything from auto loans to mortgages.
Ford retained the overall sales lead on a year-to-date basis.
The Ford F series pickup also remains Canada’s best-selling vehicle through October, while the Honda Civic retains that distinction for passenger cars.
Trucks comprised 72 per cent of the market in October compared to 70 per cent in 2017.
Here’s a look at how some of the automakers fared in October:
GM SLUMPS 12.9%
GM Canada saw its October sales drop 12.9 per cent when compared with the same month last year.
The automaker sold 23,374 vehicles last month, down from the 26,847 last October.
GM did not provide a sales breakdown by brand.
NISSAN'S RECORD OCTOBER
Nissan Canada had its best October on record with sales of 12,198 vehicles, a 5.4-per-cent increase over the same month in 2017.
While it wasn’t a huge number by volume, the Nissan Titan full-size pickup had a record October with 521 sold, up 99.6 per cent over last year.
The automaker credited the sales increase to a nationwide marketing campaign.
“In October, we launched our first ever Nissan Truck Month campaign,” Nissan Canada spokeswoman Jennifer McCarthy said. “This campaign to tout cash purchase and lease deals was supported nationally in television through our partnerships with the NFL and CFL, regionally through various mediums, and locally by dealers.”
Overall, sales of Nissan brand vehicles offset a slump in sales of the luxury Infiniti brand. Nissan sales were up 7.7 per cent to 11,296 units while Infiniti sales dropped 16.8 per cent to 902 vehicles.
The sub-compact Qashqai and electric Leaf both posted record October sales. Qashqai sales of 1,707 vehicles were up 43.1 per cent while the 640 Leafs sold marked its ninth consecutive month of sales records.
With 328 units sold, the Infiniti QX50 became the luxury brand’s best-selling vehicle.
F SERIES LEADS FORD, AGAIN
Ford Canada sales increased 1.6 per cent in October, led by the F series’ best October on record.
The automaker sold 21,414 total vehicles in the month.
Canadians bought 10,874 F series trucks last month, up three per cent from the previous year. Sales of the Canada-made Edge were also up three per cent to 1,489 units.
“We’ve committed to a strategy focusing on trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles, and we’re starting to see that strategy pay off,” said Mark Buzzell, president and CEO, Ford Canada.
Ford truck sales were up 6.4 per cent in October to 20,098, but are essentially flat through October with a 0.3-per-cent decrease.
Sales of Ford cars fell 39.5 per cent to just 1,330 in October. Sales are off 17.4 per cent in that segment through the first 10 months.
Lincoln sales increased 49 per cent in October.
RAM REBOUNDS, BUT FCA SINKS
As Ram sales rebounded for FCA in October, its Jeep brand took a dive and the automaker posted a 14.8-per-cent-decline overall in the month.
FCA, including the low-volume Alfa Romeo brand, sold 14,669 vehicles in October. That’s down from 17,211 units sold a year ago.
Ram was the only brand to post a sales increase, up 10 per cent to 6,677. Ram pickup sales rebounded from a September slide. Pickup sales were up nine per cent to 6,310 in October compared to the same month in 2017.
Ram pickup sales were down 11 per cent to 6,903 units in September.
The Ontario-made Dodge Caravan had its sales sink 44 per cent to 1,783 units in October. The Chrysler Pacifica, also made in Ontario, saw sales slide 53 per cent to 216 units.
Jeep sales were down seven per cent to 4,491 units. Compass sales were up just two per cent, while the Grand Cherokee saw sales increase 39 per cent to 1,103 units. Wrangler sales fell 33 per cent to 1,182, but the vehicle remained the most popular Jeep model.
TOYOTA SALES SURGE
Toyota Canada’s total sales surged 10.2 per cent in October, with pickups and the popular RAV4 doing much of the lifting.
Tundra sales spiked 40.5 per cent, up to 1,156 units compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the smaller Tacoma were up 8.5 per cent to 1,163 units.
Meanwhile, the RAV4 was the top-selling Toyota vehicle in October up 20.7 per cent with 5,607 units sold.
On the car side of sales, the automaker sold 4,298 Corollas, up 19.3 per cent over October 2017.
Total Lexus sales were up 11.6 per cent to 2,916 units. Lexus NX sales jumped 23.8 per cent to 1,008 while ES sales were up 126.1 per cent to 346.
SUBARU SALES REMAIN HIGH
Subaru sales in Canada climbed 11.1 per cent to 5,500 vehicles in October compared with October 2017.
Through 10 months, the automaker has posted a 6.9-per-cent increase over the same time last year.
KIA, HYUNDAI HEAD IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
Kia sales fell 4.1 per cent to 5,626 vehicles in October and the automaker remains off last year’s sales pace by 3.4 per cent through 10 months. Meanwhile, Hyundai, while down 2.1 per cent through October posted a 12-per-cent sales gain in the month, selling 11,373 vehicles.
Hyundai’s Genesis luxury brand had sales of 132 vehicles, up 175 per cent over last year.
This report and sales chart will be updated.