Sales of new vehicles in Canada fell an estimated 1.7 percent in July, marking the 17th consecutive month of decline.
The size of the drop is an Automotive News Data Center estimate, reflecting Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s move to join General Motors Canada in abandoning monthly sales reports.
Meanwhile, the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) said that — based on estimates for GM and FCA —total sales fell one per cent to 173,519 vehicles.
The Automotive News Data Center put the tally at 173,680 sales, for a seven-month industry decline of 4.8 percent.
GAC President David Adams said people are making too big a deal of the industry’s losing streak, insisting the market remains healthy even if it falls below 2 million annual sales for the first time since 2016.
“If sales at the end of the year end up down five per cent from last year, it will still be a very successful sales year by historical standards,” Adams said. “It wasn’t that many years ago that dealers and manufacturers would give their eye teeth for a sales year of 1.8 million units.”
Here’s are some highlights:
Ford Canada saw its July sales decline 9.4 per cent. Sales of Canada’s most-popular vehicle, the F-series pickup, were down 1.8 per cent to 13,862 units, while Escape sales were off 4.3 per cent to 3,455, the automaker reported.
Sagging car sales also dragged down totals, with Fusion sales off 41 per cent to 473 units.
The automaker sold just 12 Taurus sedans, down from 290 a year earlier. And Mustang sales dropped 22 per cent to 640 units.
Toyota Canada’s sales jumped 17.2 per cent, on the back of the revamped RAV4.
RAV4 sales rose 44 per cent to 5,936 making it the automaker’s most popular vehicle.
But a sudden interest in cars also helped Toyota increase sales last month. Camry sales were up 19 per cent, to 1,287, while Toyota sold 4,047 Corollas, for a 4.6 per cent gain.
Sienna minivan sales advanced, too, up 25 per cent to 1,520 units.
Lexus saw big jumps in the low-volume IS and ES, up 21 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively.
Nissan Canada volume fell 12 per cent as consumers fled from cars and the company stood pat on its decision to move away from fleet sales.
Altima sales, for example, were down 61 per cent to just 240 units. Every Nissan car posted a sales decline of more than 24 per cent. The Versa Note was down 74 per cent to 152 units, while Sentra sales slid 44 per cent to 779.
“We are maintaining a focus on growth and profitability as a priority. We are currently working through some of the fleet commitments we have, but overall, our goal is to decrease the amount of fleet volume over the course of the year,” Nissan Canada spokeswoman Jennifer McCarthy said in a statement.
On the truck side, the Rogue remained the automaker’s top seller with 3,094 sales, up 1.2 per cent. But the Qashqai saw its sales retreat 22 per cent to 1,295 units. Titan sales dropped 44 per cent to 222 pickups.
HYUNDAI, KIA DOWN SLIGHTLY
Hyundai Canada sales, including the company’s luxury Genesis brand, were down 3. 8 per cent to 13,188. Kia Canada sales edged down 1.2 per cent to 8,005 units.
THE BIG (PARTIAL) PICTURE
In choosing to drop monthly sales, GM Canada and FCA Canada are following the lead of their parent companies in the United States.
FCA said in May that it would stop reporting on a monthly basis in both countries beginning July 1.
Niel Golightly, FCA's chief communications officer, said in a statement at the time: "A quarterly sales reporting cadence will continue to provide transparency of our sales results while at the same time aligning with where industry practice is heading."
GM said in August 2018 it was moving from monthly to quarterly reporting in the United States in an effort to give a more accurate view of its business operations.
The automaker said monthly sales were subject to many issues that made them more volatile than quarterly sales, including product launch activity, weather, other seasonal factors, the number of selling days and incentive activity.
GM Canada followed suit in March of this year.
“Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market,” GM Canada said.
While Ford no longer releases monthly data in the United States, Ford Canada still provided its July sales figures.