April 3, 2002

Canadian vehicle sales surge in March, with some notable exceptions

Vehicle sales in March continued their upward trend, with some notable exceptions. Of the eleven automakers which reported March vehicle sales yesterday, only Ford, VW and Porsche showed sales decreases.

General Motors of Canada dealers sold 43,735 vehicles in March, an increase of 5.2 per cent from the same period last year. Passenger car sales for the month were up 4.3 per cent, and truck sales were up 6.2 per cent when compared to March, 2001.

DaimlerChrysler Canada’s March sales of 22,689 vehicles were 3.2 percent higher than the 21,985 sold in the same month last year and marked the fifth consecutive month in which combined car and truck sales exceeded those for the corresponding month one year earlier.

Ford and Lincoln sales of 24,308 vehicles were down 5.6 percent overall. March car sales were up 4.2 per cent, but truck sales dropped 9.7 per cent.

Volkswagen Canada had the sharpest sales decline in March. Its vehicles sales of 3,086 compared with 3,900 units in March 2001, a decrease of 20.9%.

Import luxury car makers reported sharply higher sales. Mercedes-Benz Canada reported its best retail month in the company’s history. A total of 1,325 vehicles were sold in March, a gain of 32.4%. BMW had its best March ever, citing sales of 1405 vehicles, a 20% increase over March, 2001. Audi’s sales of 605 cars for March were up 7.3% over the March 2001 mark of 564 vehicles. Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division, reported record sales for the month of March with 551 units sold, a 94 per cent increase over March 2001. Porsche was the only luxury maker to report lower March sales – it sold 91 cars, 17 percent less than in the same period last year.

In a separate announcement, Nissan Canada announced that its car and truck sales rose by 20 per cent in fiscal year 2001 versus fiscal year 2000 – combined Nissan and Infiniti sales totalled 59,061 vehicles making it Nissan’s best sales year ever.

For Hyundai Canada, year-to date vehicle sales for 2002 reached 12,856 compared to 10,722 in 2001. On a monthly comparison, March 2002 posted an increase of 15% over last year, as sales reached 5,485 units. Sales for the Elantra were up 14%, and up 53% year-to-date, while Santa Fe sales rocketed in March, up 117% over last year, and year-to-date it has posted an increase of 82%.

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