Canada is LARGE, but not a large marketplace for consumer goods. The price of fuel is typically stuck somewhere between cheap (USA, Venezuela) and expensive (Europe, Japan). Financial concerns, rather than worries, have slowed the economy to a small degree; but nothing like that of the American system. It’s not unusual to see what would appear to be an equivalent purchase of an automobile be a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla in Canada where you’d expect that vehicle to be the Accord or Camry. Rav4 or CR-V; over Highlander and Pilot.
You get the picture. 2007, however, was a wicked sweet year for automakers in Canada. Some executives had high hopes for 2008, most of which dwindled as the full brunt of the housing crisis struck the USA; an economy that’s intricately tied in with the neighbour to the north. So, now that 2008 is in full swing; now that people have seen the excitement of an equal dollar ebb and flow; now that spring has sprung, how are automakers coping?
Let’s look at BMW as an example. April of 2008 was the best-ever April for BMW in Canada. 2,310 BMWs exited dealer doors in the first full month of spring. That’s a 2.3% increase over the previous April, although first-third sales are down 9.3% from the January-April period of 2007.
BMW’s British small car division, Mini, also posted its best-ever April. 456 Minis were sold during the period, a 22.3% increase against last year’s April. Both brands’ numbers include the benefit of having more models to sell, the Clubman and 1-series to name the most prominent.
And, if there were doubters, even BMW & Mini pre-owned sales rocketed 21 and 50.3%, respectively.