Richmond Hill, Ontario – New vehicle sales in Canada dropped 21.2 per cent in December, the worst for that month since 1996, according to industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. Passenger car sales were down 15.6 per cent, while light trucks dropped by 25.8 per cent.

Total vehicle sales for the year were 1,635,986 units, a drop of 1.1 per cent from 2007.

“Canada has finally seen the serious sales declines which have prevailed in the U.S. for some months now,” DesRosiers said. “Canada had defied the U.S. trend up until October, but with November sales down 10.3 per cent and now December down 21.2 per cent, one can safely say that Canada too is in an automotive recession.”

Among individual manufacturers, Honda registered the largest decline of the full-line manufacturers, with a drop of 42.4 per cent. However, DesRosiers noted that there were notable exceptions for the month, including an 82.5 per cent increase at Volkswagen, Suzuki and Subaru up 31.6 and 16.0 per cent respectively, and Mercedes-Benz registering its best sales year in its history. Toyota/Lexus, meanwhile, passed Ford and Chrysler for second place in sales.

DesRosiers has forecast a similar pattern throughout 2009, with expected sales of slightly more than 1.5 million, a decline of about 9 per cent from 2008.

Sales for December 2008 were as follows:

Manufacturer December 2008 December 2007 % change
Chrysler    12,172 18,985 -35.9
Ford 14,273 15,111 – 5.5
General Motors 20,751 25,579 -18.9
       
Acura  1,597  2,275 -29.8
Audi     739    714 + 3.5
BMW  1,745  2,131 -18.1
Honda  8,958 15,542 -42.4
Hyundai  3,750   4,089 – 8.3
Infiniti     484     415 +16.6
Jaguar       38       51 -25.5
Kia  1,642  1,878 -12.6
Land Rover     150    267 -43.8
Lexus     906  1,223 -25.9
Mazda  4,510  4,811 – 6.3
Mercedes-Benz  1,588  1,412 +12.5
Mini     300    286 + 4.9
Mitsubishi  1,490  1,546 – 3.6
Nissan  4,042  4,970 -18.7
Porsche      95    110 -13.6
Saab      98    167 -41.3
Smart    150    245 -38.8
Subaru  1,529  1,318 +16.0
Suzuki    704     535 +31.6
Toyota  8,846 13,865 -36.2
Volkswagen  3,598   1,971 +82.5
Volvo    268     398 -32.7
       
Light vehicles 94,423 119,894 -21.2
Passenger car 44,739 52,978 -15.6
Light truck 49,684 66,916 -25.8

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