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Light Vehicle Sales from June

Light Vehicle Sales from June

July 17, 2020

Segments of the Market Showing Signs of Improvement

I have said this many times before, but it remains important to reiterate. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on a wide range of things in the lives of so many. It has been a challenging time, and at moments it may seem hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The same can be said for the devastating impact that has been felt on the economy – and the auto industry has been no exception.

According to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Canadian light vehicle sales were down 74.6% in April and 44% in May. It was hard to see such a decrease in sales during that period. However, we were excited to see that June saw the release of some pent-up demand in the market and we were only down 16.2% for the month with an estimated 155,439 units sold.

There is still plenty of uncertainty in the months to come, but for the time being we have finally seen a positive in the bleak market. It is also interesting to see how consumer preferences have shifted over the past few months.

DesRosiers showcases a few brand-level points of note for the first half of 2020. Year-to-date sales at Kia fell 24.6%, which was the smallest decrease among reporting brands. General Motors also saw a relatively strong performance (down only 26.1%), which pushed the company within a few thousand units of Ford – who is currently in the position of sales volume leader.

It is also important to share some changes in the types of vehicles that consumers are purchasing. Large pickups accounted for 19.1% of total light vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2019 and this share grew to 23.1% in the second quarter of 2020 – even amongst all of the uncertainty.

Small pickups presented an uplifting story with their share rising from 2.1% to 2.5%. SUV’s also saw a market increase from 45.3% to 47.1%, but the performance among specific segments was somewhat mixed.

The luxury side of the market, which includes passenger cars and light trucks, performed well – seeing an increase of 11.5% from 11.2%. This development is especially interesting, considering luxury sales can be especially sensitive to economic downturns.

Though the market is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows at the moment, it is refreshing to see that we are getting our sales back so quickly in these times that continue to be uncertain. I can only hope that these sales continue in an upward trend.

And again, I am proud of the work that has been done in BC through the pandemic and beyond. Our industry has proved to be resilient and helped their communities by giving back during these challenging times.

Continue to stay safe and be kind, everyone.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca


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