March 16, 2007

Honda Civic and Ford F-Series lead February sales

Richmond Hill, Ontario – The Honda Civic topped passenger car sales and the Ford F-Series led light truck sales in Canada in February, but for the first time since 1999, the Civic’s lead is being challenged, says industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

“Civic sales are down 20.2 per cent on the year and Mazda3 sales are up 24.9 per cent,” DesRosiers says. “When you get percentage swings like this, the gap between vehicles can change very quickly. The Civic obviously has a big bull’s-eye on it and the list of competitors is very long, the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac Pursuit, (Dodge) Caliber, Ford Focus and possibly the Ford Escape to name a few direct competitors.”

DesRosiers also notes that while “we have our annual battle on the light truck side of the equation between Ford F-series pickups and the Chrysler Caravan minivan,” the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are up over 40 per cent this year. “GM needed to hit a home run with these vehicles and they obviously have done exactly that so far this year,” DesRosiers says. “It will be interesting to see who loses sales to the new Toyota Tundra; will it be GM or F-Series or Ram? Toyota is going to be aggressive with this vehicle and although I believe they have set modest goals for this year, these sales have to come from one of these three competitors.”

DesRosiers also notes that consumers are still moving toward small entry-level vehicles, which were up 9.1 per cent on the month, and 12.5 per cent on the year, while moving away from midsized family vehicles, down 12.3 per cent on the month and down 12.8 per cent on the year. “My fear here is that the near-collapse of the midsize segment may mean that some of these so-called ‘crossover’ vehicles may not meet expectations,” DesRosiers says. “Most crossovers are targeted to this segment and I’m not convinced that the strength of these products can overcome the weakness in the segment.”

The ten top-selling passenger cars in Canada in February, in order, were the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Chevrolet Cobalt, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, Pontiac Pursuit/G5, Ford Focus, Toyota Camry, Dodge Caliber and Nissan Altima.

Year-to-date to February 2007, the top ten were the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cobalt, Toyota Camry, Toyota Yaris, Dodge Caliber, Pontiac Pursuit/G5, Ford Focus and Nissan Altima.

The top ten light trucks in February were the Ford F-Series, Dodge Caravan, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Ranger, Ford Escape/Escape Hybrid, Hyundai Santa Fe, Chevrolet Uplander and Honda CR-V.

The top ten year-to-date trucks were the Ford F-Series, Dodge Caravan, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford Escape/Escape Hybrid, Chevrolet Uplander, Honda CR-V, Ford Ranger and Hyundai Santa Fe.

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