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Wild Swings in Vehicle Sales

Wild Swings in Vehicle Sales

July 31, 2020

The latest national new vehicle sales report by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants provide both some encouraging news, but also underlines some of the challenges the automotive sector faces as it continues to navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest vehicle sales report reveals that June saw both a relative improvement in the national sales picture but some wild swings in provincial performances.

While total year to date national sales are down 34.2 percent from last year, BC sales are slightly better off, down about 33 percent– but given the significant hit the sector took when the pandemic emerged, the results are encouraging. It’s an upward trend we hope to see continue over the next several months.

The online publication Driving.ca recently released a list of Canada’s top ten best-selling vehicles. The results show that even a pandemic does not slow the sale of pickup trucks, SUVs and Crossover Utility Vehicles in this country. According DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, large pickups actually accounted for 19.1 percent of total light vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2019 and this grew to 23.1 percent amidst the lockdowns of the second quarter of 2020. Small pickups presented a perhaps even more remarkable story with their share rising from 2.1 percent to 3.5 percent.

Each of Canada’s four top-selling vehicles in the first half of the year were full size pickup trucks. This is a departure from the pre-recession era of 2008 when compact cars were the top selling models in the market. Full-size pickup trucks are actually on track to sell more than 100,000 extra units than in 2009.

In the first half of 2020, out of Canada’s 10 best-selling vehicles only two were cars. Let’s take a look at some of the vehicles that make this year’s top ten list. The Honda CR-V sold 17,661 units in the first half of 2020. This vehicle is a testament to the popularity of vehicles that are built in Canada. The Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling Honda vehicles, known for its well-balanced ride and capable powertrain.

The Toyota Rav4 is another clear favourite amongst Canadian consumers, which managed to sell 20,596 units so far this year. This puts the vehicle on a clear track towards a fifth consecutive year as Canada’s top-selling SUV/crossover.

The vehicles in the top four spots are all excellent pickup trucks, with the Ford F-Series taking the leading spot. They sold 56,466 units – down just 25 percent, compared to the vehicle in the tenth spot being down 51 percent. The vehicle is still on track for a calendar year in excess of 100,000 sales – a feat no other vehicle line has accomplished in Canada. 2020 is on track to be the 12th consecutive year in which the F-Series snagged the number one position.

It is likely that the COVID economic recovery process is going to take time and will be gradual. A number of auto makers are adjusting and providing various ways to help reduce any buying anxiety consumers may be experiencing. It comes in the form of purchase incentives, payment relief or lease payment extensions – make sure to do some research to establish what particular purchase arrangements may work best for you.

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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