GM Canada auto sales up; Fiat Chrysler, Ford take a hit

James Marshall
January 12, 2018

Despite posting weaker sales in December, automakers sold a record 2.038 million new vehicles in Canada in 2017 as more drivers opted to purchase SUVs and trucks over passenger cars.

Larger vehicles are grabbing even more market share from sedans, which Kelley estimated made up just 36 percent of the US market previous year, down from 50 percent in 2012. Fiat Chrysler's sales fell 8 percent.

"The numbers point to further decline", said Fleming, who is projecting vehicle sales to fall to 16.7 million this year. Volkswagen said its sales in the US rose by 5 percent. And, while GM's total sales across 2017 were 1% lower than 2016, that is likely to be a better end result than the industry average which is now forecast to be a 2% drop in 2017 from 2016.

- LUXURY CROWN: Mercedes-Benz's sales fell 1 percent to 337,246, but that was still enough to make it the top-selling luxury brand in the USA for the second straight year.

The migration of consumers to larger, more expensive vehicles, especially luxury pickup trucks and crossovers, has come as easier credit and longer auto loans have enabled people to buy or lease vehicles they might have once considered unaffordable. Both auto manufacturers' December sales beat analyst's forecasts and ended a disappointing year on a brighter note. Its most popular vehicle this year was the Dodge Ram truck, which saw sales jump 10 per cent to 98,465.

"It's still a buoyant industry and the underlying factors that drive it are still very positive", Ford's USA sales chief, Mark LaNeve, said.

Some automakers did not manage to post annual sales increases, including FCA, Hyundai and smart.

-WINNERS AND LOSERS: Ford's F-Series pickup truck remained the best-selling vehicle in the 2017, a title it has now held for 36 years.

At GM, Cadillac declined 28.6 percent and Chevrolet was down 2.9 percent.

Sales at Toyota's Lexus brand fell 13.9 percent. One reason is the trend of moving into SUVs and trucks continues. Passenger auto sales dropped 14.2% while sport utility vehicle sales rose 2.9% and truck sales rose 4.3%.

Volkswagen of America Inc. reported an 18.7% drop in sales in December, in spite of strong SUV results mentioned earlier. "This year, many consumers will see their take-home pay rise because of tax reform".

"Average transaction prices closed the year on a strong note, rising almost 2% in December 2017 to set a record high", said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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