January 5, 2005

2004 Canadian vehicle sales drop 3.7%

Vancouver, British Columbia – Canadian vehicle sales in 2004 declined despite a jump in December vehicle sales spurred by heavy incentives. Annual vehicle sales of 1,534,415 were down 3.7 percent from 2003 when sales were 1,593,506.

Leading the decliners was Mitsubishi (-23.6 percent), Jaguar (-26.0 percent) and Volkswagen (-18.3 percent). Also in the negative column were Kia (-13.5 percent), Hyundai (-10.3 percent), and surprisingly, Honda (Acura) (-6.6%) and Mercedes-Benz (-4.4%). In terms of most sales lost, Ford was the hardest hit with a sales decline of 11.7 percent, even though they had the best-selling vehicle in Canada, the F-Series pickup. General Motors was also down 2.4%, and DaimlerChrysler was down 1.0%.

Sales leaders included Mazda (+12.7%), BMW (+8.6%), Suzuki (+6.0%), Volvo (+3.6%), Subaru (+3.5%), and Toyota (Lexus) (+3.1%).

The Big Three’s (GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler) share of the Canadian market dropped from 57% to 56.5%, while import nameplates’ share rose from 43.0% to 43.5%.

Dennis Desrosiers of Desrosiers Automotive Consultants blames Canada’s declining vehicle sales on the high cost of ownership led by insurance costs and gas prices. “Also the market overbought during the early part of the decade and there was some give back these last two years,” he noted. “We see more of the same for 2006 with the market to be down slightly in the 2 to 5 percent range.”

Connect with Autos.ca