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2018: Canadians bought just over two million new vehicles last year

Sales of new vehicles in Canada surpassed the two million mark for just the second time in history in 2018. However, the year just ended also marked the first in over a decade to record a decline in new vehicles sales on the Canadian market. The industry saw sales drop over the previous year by 1.9%. 2,003,506 Canadian consumers bought new vehicles this past year, in comparison with 2,043,331 in 2017.

The last year in which sales dropped was 2009, at the height of the financial crisis that deeply impacted the automotive sector. Automakers that year sold 11% fewer new vehicles than in the previous year.

This past year’s final results were impacted by a poor showing in December, which ended with sales down by 6.5% in comparison with December 2017. Experts point to factors such as various political and economic issues and uncertainties, including the increase in interest rates, to explain the decline.

At the same time, after a decade of record performances on the car sales front, a slowdown was virtually inevitable.

Photo: Honda/Ford

Familiar names
Sales in 2018 were led by two very familiar names in their respective categories, and those of course would be the Honda Civic and the Ford F-150 in the car and pickup segments. The continued strong performance of the latter model allowed Ford to record the highest number of new-vehicle sales in the country in 2018, with 297,902 units carrying the Blue Oval badge finding buyers.

As for the ratio of sales of SUVs and trucks in comparison with cars, the first group continues to gain in market share. In 2018, 70.1% of models sold in Canada were utility models or light-duty trucks, up from the 68.6% share the segments enjoyed in 2017.

Experts have long predicted that the SUV/truck-to-car ratio will stabilise at some point. Could it be this year?

2019 Toyota RAV4
Photo: V.Aubé
2019 Toyota RAV4