Okay, the full Canadian April sales numbers are in and they spin many interesting tales about the winners and losers in this market.
Losers? For starters, year-over-year new vehicle sales declined in April compared to a year ago, reports DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Sales fell slightly, by 1.6 per cent to 197,203 from 200,384 a year ago. Year-to-date sales at 618,721 units remained 2.5 per cent above the 603,364 units sold by the end of April 2016.
Thirteen of 26 brands in Canada reported year-over-year sales decreases, including higher volume brands such as Toyota (-9.9 per cent), FCA (-9.1 per cent) and Nissan (-8.1 per cent), adds DesRosiers.
Now with a bit of digging we found some really tasty winners and some truly egregious losers. Here’s a celebration of both:
Winner: Small SUVs/crossovers: Honda HR-V and CR-V sales are up 56 and 17.9 per cent respectively this year. GM Canada’s small/compact crossover sales were up 41 per cent in April: Chevrolet Equinox (up 73 per cent), the GMC Terrain (up 35 per cent), Buick Encore (up 23 per cent).
Loser: Small cars in particular and cars in general, too: Honda Fit sales are down a staggering 55.5 per cent this year. Mazda3 sales in April slumped 26.9 per cent. Car sales at Ford were down 27.7 per cent in April, and they’re down 20.3 per cent on the year. Ford in Canada has sold 596 Fiestas for the entire year so far, versus 47,460 F-Series pickups. Nissan Micra sales were down 17 per cent in April.
Winner: Luxury SUVs: at Lexus, SUV sales were up 18.7 per cent in April, with the NX up 25 per cent, the RX up 11.2 per cent. Range Rover was up 48 per cent year-over-year, with the Range Rover Evoque up 69 per cent year-over-year. Jaguar sold 202 F-PACE SUVs in April, which represented about two-thirds of all Jaguar sales for the month.
Loser: Honda’s Acura luxury brand. Sales overall down 4.6 per cent, but look at these numbers: RLX sales down 44.9 per cent, TLX sales down 15.9 per cent. Acura crossovers? RDX sales collapsed in April, down 19.9 per cent.
Winner: SUVs: Toyota Highlander sales sup 20.5 per cent in April, 4Runner sales up 24 per cent. Mazda CX-9 sales jumped 184.4 per cent.
Loser: Ford’s entire car lineup: Through the end of April, Ford in Canada sold 82,354 light trucks – Escapes, Explorers, F-Series – compared to a paltry 10,751 cars, the once-popular Focus among them.
Losers and Winners: Passenger car sales decreased 8.7 per cent year-over-year in April, with 66,291 units sold, while light truck sales increased 2.5 year-over-year with 130,912 units sold, notes DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
Winning brands: Jaguar up 157.4 per cent, Maserati up 112.3 per cent, and General Motors up 16.4 per cent, notes DesRosiers.
Losing brands: The largest declines, notes DesRosiers: smart (-60.0 per cent), Volkswagen (-30.1 per cent), and Acura (-23.3 per cent). Mercedes-Benz Canada delivered a grand total of 22 fortwo runabouts in April.
Winner: Infiniti Q50 sales were up 80.2 per cent for April. In a market in which customers are turning away from luxury cars to luxury SUVs, the Q50 was a rare exception. A second: Mercedes-Benz is having great success with the C-Class: a 61.2 per cent increase in April and year-to-date growth of 46.6 per cent.
Loser: Nissan’s midsize cars: Altima sales in April were down 48.3 per cent, Maxima down 38.9 per cent.
Winner: Big pickups: FCA’s Ram up 10 per cent in April; Chevrolet Silverado up 27 per cent; GMC Sierra up 19 per cent; Ford F-Series up a modest 3.0 per cent, though April was still the best month on record for F-Series sales.
Loser: Fiat Chrysler (FCA) in Canada: overall, April sales down 9.1 per cent, but there were some whopping slumps amongst previously popular brands: Jeep down 35 per cent, Dodge down 13.0 per cent. If you’re searching for a bright spot, FCA sold 757 Chrysler Pacifica minivans in April.
Winner: Mercedes-AMG: 1,034 units delivered, for a 65.7 per cent jump over the same period last year. Year-to-date Mercedes-AMG total: 3,530 sold, for a growth of 80.5 per cent over 2016. The Merc numbers reflect the truly awesome power of good branding and packaging.