Automakers in August almost stopped the bleeding when it came to new-vehicle sales in Canada, but the losing streaking extended to 18 months in length with a slight year-over-year decrease.
Sales were essentially flat as they fell an estimated 0.1 per cent to 181,996 new vehicles sold last month when compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit.
The estimate reflects Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s move to join General Motors Canada in abandoning monthly sales reports.
The centre now estimates sales are down 4.2 per cent to 1.34 million units sold through the first eight months of the year when compared with the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) said that — based on its own estimates for GM and FCA — suggested total sales inched up 0.5 per cent per cent “to around 182,000 units.”
“Consumer confidence was lower in August than it has been, which is an important factor with respect to big ticket item purchases,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC). “However, we still have interest rates at very attractive levels to perhaps counter-balance lower consumer confidence ratings.”
When it came to consumer confidence in August, the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index — a composite indicator derived from phone surveys of households — ended the month at 56.4, down from 58.6 at the end of July.
The drop reflects waning optimism about Canada’s economy, and effectively reverses the pick up in sentiment earlier this summer. It marks the first drop in the index of more than two points since November 2018.
Truck sales in August increased almost eight per cent over last year, comprising 76 per cent of the market, according to the GAC.
It’s been 17 months since the industry posted an overall sales gain and it appears two million units is out of reach with four months to go this year.
Automakers — except for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors — on Wednesday began reporting August sales figures.
The Automotive News Data Center estimates GM sold 25,991 vehicles in August while FCA sold an estimated 21,085.
Here’s a look at how some automakers fared in August:
TOYOTA TURNS IT UP, AGAIN
Toyota Canada continues to see its sales surge, posting a 10-per-cent gain in August when compared with the same month a year ago.
The automaker sold 22,384 vehicles last month, up from 20,433 in 2018.
The increase comes after Toyota Canada posted a 16-per-cent increase in July.
Toyota brand sales were up 10.4 per cent to 20,286 vehicles while luxury Lexus sales rose 2.6 per cent to 2,108.
Prius was one of the biggest gainers by percentage for the automaker, up 105 per cent to 1,175 units. But it was the higher-volume crossover and utility vehicle segments that led the charge. Sales of the RAV4 were up 17 per cent to 5,819 to make it the company’s most popular vehicle. C-HR sales increased 19 per cent to 684 units while 4Runner sales were up 26 per cent to 903 vehicles sold.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Corolla and even the Sienna minivan posted gains, up five per cent to 4,788 units and up 46 per cent to 1,280 units, respectively.
The biggest gainers for Lexus were the ES and NX, up 75 and 28 per cent to 169 and 703 units respectively.
Ford Canada reported an August sales decrease of nine per cent when compared with the same period in 2018.
Ford sold 26,655 vehicles last month with the popular F series truck taking one of the biggest hits. Sales of the country’s most popular vehicle were down five per cent to 14,600 units, which was enough to move the needle downward.
The Ford Explorer saw its sales cut by more than half, down 60 per cent to 762 units.
Small sales increases for the lower-volume Edge and Expedition — up 13 and 92 per cent, respectively — weren’t enough to offset the declines posted by two of the automaker’s more popular trucks.
Lincoln sales were up five per cent.
While Nissan Canada’s most popular vehicle — the Rogue — managed to post an eight-per-cent gain in August sales, it wasn’t enough to mitigate decreases elsewhere in the company’s lineup.
Nissan reported total sales of 12,238 vehicles, down eight per cent from a year earlier.
Rogue sales totalled 3,725 units while the Kicks compact crossover posted sales of 1,672 units, up 125 per cent from August 2018.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf EV, Sentra and Versa Note all slumped by more than 40 per cent each. Leafs sales were down 61 per cent to 411 units; Sentra sales were off 44 per cent to 530 vehicles; and Versa Note sales dropped 69 per cent to 154.
Meanwhile, on the truck side, Murano sales sank nine per cent to 1,051 units while Qashqai sales decreased 25 per cent to 1,537 units.
Total sales of Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand were down 16 per cent to 1,012 vehicles.
SUBARU SLIDES 6%
Subaru saw sales of its most popular cars and trucks take a downturn in August.
Total sales were down six per cent to 4,730 vehicles when compared with a year ago.
Impreza was the biggest loser, down 11 per cent to 802 units. Forester sales were down one per cent to 1,066 units, but remained the automaker’s second best-selling vehicle, behind the Crosstrek.
Outback sales were off six per cent to 845 units while sales of the still relatively new Ascent were down 10 per cent to 303.
Forester saw its sales inch up one per cent to 1,066 units.
The sales chart will be updated with estimates for GM and FCA.