Data for the American automobile market has already been revealed here at GCBC. Check out the posts from last night and this morning. The story in Canada is very, very, very different and has been that way all year. Yes, gas prices are on the rise in Canada, too. But it’s not so much of a shock to our collective system – we’ve always paid more than they have south of the border. Although the worldwide economy is having its difficulties, unlike the USA, Canada has not faced a ridiculously awful housing and mortgage crisis.
Thus, the sales statistics for many automakers in Canada are a dose, albeit a small dose, of precious good news. Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, and even Volkswagen posted better months this May than they did in May of 2007. As a whole, the Canadian auto market actually dropped 0.5% against the previous May, but that isn’t such bad news in light of May/08’s status as the second-best May ever and part of what appears likely to be the best ever year for vehicle sales.
Although Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors release their stats as conglomerates, (barring Saab and Volvo) GM’s overall posting of a 19.8% decline isn’t what good dreams are made of. Ford Motor Company’s 6.4% drop isn’t lovely, either. Mercedes and Mini are certainly the big winners with sales more than 40% better than the same period in ’07. Likewise, Hyundai and Jaguar will be pleased with sales climbs over 20%; Nissan at +19.5%.
The real losers are those with old product or SUV-heavy lineups. Saab plummeted 49.2% with just 154 vehicles sold in the 31 days of May. Land Rover 45.7% drop took the British builder of Range Rovers, LR3s, and LR2s down to just 190 sales. Even Volvo, with relatively new stuff like the C30 and S80 struggled to crack the 800 barrier, sales being down 28.8%.
GM, Ford, and Chrysler brands combined for a 9.3% decline, despite the Chrysler Group’s jump of 1,596 sales. Import nameplates joined together for an 8.8% improvement, outselling the Americans by a count of 11,067.
Marketshare allotment for the year-to-date pegs Toyota just 0.7% higher than Ford; 13.7% to 13%. GM has lost three points so far in 2008 but still leads Chrysler by seven points. Honda brings up fifth place with a 1.6% improvement over last year, now garnering more than 1/10th of the Canadian market.
Passenger cars accounted for 109,459 of the 184,467 vehicles sold in Canada in May. Light truck sales were down 8.8% while cars jumped 6.1% higher than in May of last year.