The Canadian auto industry can usually be counted upon to move about two million vehicles per year. In 2018, it scraped the topside of that number by the skin of its teeth, with a total of 2,003,506 new cars and trucks being purchased by Canadians last year.
Fortunes of each car company were as varied as the vehicles they sell. The big names from Detroit all foundered in the red, with Ford and GM down 3.4% and 4.8% respectively. Despite the drop, the Blue Oval was still Canada’s best-selling automotive brand. Unsurprisingly, the F-Series pickup remains Canada’s favourite truck for the 53rd consecutive year while also capturing the crown of the best-selling vehicle in Canada for the ninth year running.
FCA, meanwhile, was off a murderous 15.9%, seeing its annual volume drop to 225,653 units. The drop can largely be attributed to Dodge and Ram. The in-yer-face Dodge shed about 25,000 units while Ram, suffering from a botched launch of its new pickup, lost 14,281 sales in the kerfuffle that was 2018. Don’t expect that trend to continue, as shiny new copies of the 2019 Ram 1500 are arriving on dealer lots en masse as we speak.
Jeep, for its part, continues to bear the load and keep the lights on at FCA. It was up nearly 2 percent. For the calendar year, Wrangler set an annual record with 24,615 vehicles sold, up 42 per cent from 2017. Jeep Compass sales of 9,435 vehicles were up 46 per cent for the year.
Toyota Canada had an excellent December, finishing the year strongly on its way to an overall jump of about 3% for the entire year, closing in on the sale of nearly a quarter-million vehicles. December sales of the RAV4, which is the automaker’s best-selling vehicle in the Great White North, more than doubled during December, up 60% to 4035 units. There are also 2928 more Corollas clogging up our nation’s highways.
Both of the Korean-based automakers, Hyundai and Kia, were down about 4% last month but Hyundai was roughly flat when measured for the entire year. Despite having exactly zero SUVs or crossovers to sell, the burgeoning Genesis brand is steadily improving its sales numbers in this country. Surprising some, given the market’s thirst for crossover vehicles, the Elantra continued to be the brand’s bread and butter in December.
What does 2019 have in store for automakers doing business in Canada?
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