January 8, 2003

Import automakers report record sales in 2002

Toronto, Ontario – 2002 was a very good year for most automakers in Canada – every automaker reported increased sales for the year, and most import brands reported record annual sales. However, sharply lower December sales at Ford and DaimlerChrysler may indicate a slowing trend for these two domestic automakers.

General Motors of Canada sold a record 52,579 vehicles in December, an increase of 24.0 per cent over the same period last year. Compared to December 2001, passenger car sales for the month were 25,971 units, up 24.8 per cent, and truck sales were 26,608 units, up 23.2 per cent. Top sellers in December included the Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire, Chevrolet Impala, and Buick Rendezvous.

For the 2002 calendar year, GM Canada sold 520,748 vehicles, an increase of 10.8 per cent over 470,081 delivered in the previous year. Calendar year passenger car sales were 268,653, an increase of 9.3 per cent over the previous period, and truck sales were a record 252,095, an increase of 12.4 per cent over the previous year.

Canadians purchased a total of 258,807 Ford and Lincoln vehicles in 2002, a 2.8 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Ford of Canada’s 2002 truck sales were up 4.1
per cent to 175,981 units while Ford and Lincoln car sales increased 0.3 per cent to 82,826 units in 2002 compared to 2001 – top sellers included the Ford Focus, Ford Mustang and the new Lincoln Town Car.

However, Ford of Canada sales in December dropped 13.9 per cent compared to the previous year. Truck sales dropped 9.5 per cent to 14,036, while car sales declined 23.8 per cent with a total of 5,187 vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler Canada reported slightly higher combined car and truck sales in 2002 compared with the previous year. Dealers sold 246,777 passenger cars and trucks during the calendar year 2002, an increase of 0.5%. Top sellers included the new Dodge Ram pickup, Jeep Liberty, and Chrysler Sebring sedan.

Combined DaimlerChrysler car and truck sales were down 13% in December, 2002. Sales of 4,972 cars were down 22.0%, and truck sales of 61,767 were down 9.4% compared to December, 2001.

Import brands surged in 2002. Honda Canada reported record combined sales of 165,331 by its Honda and Acura automobile divisions. Sales for calendar year 2002 are up 10.1 percent from 2001, Honda Canada’s sixth consecutive year of record sales.

The Honda Automobile Division reported record sales of 140,098, up 12.5 percent from last year. Due primarily to the U.S. West Coast ports strike in the third quarter, Honda’s Alliston assembly plant’s production in 2002 of 361,018 was down 2.7 percent over 2001. The Alliston facility produces the Acura MDX luxury SUV, Acura EL Sport Sedan, Honda Pilot SUV, Honda Civic Sedan and the Honda Odyssey minivan.

Toyota Canada reported record-breaking sales from both its Toyota and Lexus Divisions during 2002, its best year ever. Combined sales 152,766 were 19.6 per cent better than last year’s 127,754 sales, and a hefty 22,901 unit improvement over the previous record of 129,865, set in 1999. Toyota dealers sold 10,877 vehicles in December, an increase of 43 per cent compared to the same month last year. Record breaking performance by the Corolla (44,790), Camry
(28,967) and Echo (23,909) made Toyota the number-one selling car division in Canada in 2002. Toyota’s trucks were record breakers too with annual sales of 36,811, surpassing the previous record set in 1998. The range of Toyota trucks was up 49.4 per cent compared to last December, led by the new 2003 4Runner, up 257.4 per cent, and the Tundra, up 146 per cent over December last year.

Mazda Canada established a new annual sales record by selling 71,140 vehicles in 2002.
This is a 3.8% increase over the previous annual sales record of 69,016 vehicles sold in 2001.
Passenger car sales increased by 4.5% to 52,175 sales from 49,900 sales
recorded last year. Mazda’s compact Protegé sedan and hatchback led the gains
with a combined 48,872 sales for the year, an increase of 2,549 sales from
2001. Minivan, sport utility and compact pickup truck combined sales were down
less than 1% from 2001 levels.

Based upon its sales performance in 2002 Mazda is the third best selling import brand in Canada.

Subaru Canada celebrated the New Year with eight straight years of sales increases. December sales of 1,102 vehicles brought Subaru’s yearly total to 17,236, and 12.0 per cent better than the record set in 2001. Sales were led by the Impreza with total sales of 6,134.

Volkswagen Canada reported its second best year ever with sales of 42,975 for 2002. The sales figures for the month of December 2002 were 3,678, up 9.9% over the same month in 2001. Volkswagen’s best selling model continues to be the Jetta, with sales
totalling 23,984 units, up 2.9% from 2001.

Nissan Canada said that its 2002 calendar year sales increased over 14% versus 2001 calendar year sales – the company’s best sales year in over 10 years. Combined Nissan and Infiniti car and truck sales total 64,661 units in 2002, a 14.11% increase over 2001. The Nissan Division had its best December in over a decade with 4,450 units sold last month, a 1.27% increase over December, 2001. With 57,692 vehicles sold in 2002, Nissan sales increased 9.06% over 2001 calendar year’s sales.

Hyundai Auto Canada finished 2002 with its best year in over 16 years. Total sales for 2002 reached 66,917 units, up 13.1% over 2001. The Accent, Elantra, Tiburon and Santa Fe posted record highs with sales of 26,538, 18,290, 4,828 and 8,688 units respectively. Hyundai Auto Canada’s sales have more than tripled since 1997.

Among the luxury brands, Acura Canada reported sales of 25,233 – down slightly from 2001, due in part to the West Coast ports strike in the third quarter of 2002. Even so, the Acura MDX luxury sport-utility vehicle, which is built in Alliston, Ontario, had record sales of 4,992 – up from 25.9% over last year.

Audi Canada celebrated its best sales year ever. Audi sales in Canada for 2002 totalled 7,236
units, up 19.2% from the previous year. Sales for the month of December were 627, up by 8.5% over the same month in 2001. Audi’s best selling vehicle, the A4, maintained the momentum with sales totalling 4,940 units, compared with 3,506 units in 2001, an increase of

BMW Group Canada announced its 12th consecutive year of record-breaking sales, recording combined (BMW & MINI) automobile sales of 16,622 units in 2002 – a 30% increase over the
2001 record figure of 12,702. The year end sales results follow a record-breaking December sales month, with 1,260 vehicles delivered to customers, up 50% over the 838 units sold in the same month last year.

BMW sold 14,520 vehicles, up 14% over the same period in 2001 (12,702 units). In the month of December, sales of BMW vehicles rose 26% over the same month last year, with sales of 1,061 units. BMW Group’s Mini Canada division sold 2,102 Cooper and Cooper S vehicles in its first nine months of sales.

Infiniti reported its best sales year ever since its inception. Infiniti sold 112.6% more vehicles in December, 2002 than December, 2001. Having sold 6,969 cars and trucks in 2002, Infiniti reported an over 85% increase over 2001 sales. Infiniti’s best-seller is the new G35 – over 4,100 G35s were sold in 2002.

Lexus said it set 11 monthly records during 2002, with total annual sales of 6,514, 16.8 per cent better than last year’s record of 5,575.

Mercedes-Benz Canada reported its best year ever with 14,520 sales for the year of 2002, a 22.2% increase. December sales results were also the best ever recorded with 1,225 sales, for a gain of 10% over December 2001. 2002 saw Mercedes-Benz report “best ever” records for every month of the year except November.

Passenger car sales were up by 33.8% with 958 vehicles in December while the year-end numbers showed a 33.9% improvement with 11,454 vehicle sales. Light truck sales of 3,066 were down for the year, but a percentage figure was not announced.

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