General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. on Thursday reported double-digit rises in Canadian sales for November compared with the same period a year earlier, fuelled by strong demand for SUVs and light trucks and two extra selling days.
However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a decline in Canadian sales, down three per cent to 20,674 vehicles last month, compared with November 2015.
Analysts said November delivered a rebound in industry volumes, following a trend of weakening demand over the last three months. The month keeps Canada on track to set another record this year, with sales rising to around 1.96 million vehicles from a record-breaking 1.90 million units in 2015.
In a note to clients, Canadian auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers said auto sales hit double-digit growth during November and were up three per cent year-to-date.
"For those claiming that 2016 had run out of steam, November 2016 light vehicle sales showed a different picture altogether as sales increased 10.4 per cent year-over-year," DesRosiers wrote on Thursday.
Boost from light truck sales
Scotiabank economist Carlos Gomes wrote in a note that the rebound was driven by a surge in light truck volumes, especially large SUVs and mid-size pickup trucks.
Despite November's rebound, Gomes said he expects "Canadian passenger vehicle sales to begin to edge lower in 2017, as manufacturers raise prices due to the recent weakness of the Canadian dollar."
GM dealers delivered 28,523 vehicles in November, up 31 per cent compared with November 2015, the company said in a statement. GM Canada sales are up two per cent year-to-date.
Ford said it sold 24,472 vehicles in November, up 18 per cent compared with the same month a year earlier. Ford reported a 10 per cent rise in Canadian auto sales for the first 11 months of 2016, on an annual basis.
Toyota reported 16,492 units sold in Canada last month, up 4.2 per cent compared with November 2015.
In the United States, hefty consumer discounts during a robust Black Friday weekend helped boost November U.S. auto sales between 4 and 5 per cent, which could catapult results this year above a record high in 2015, economists and industry analysts said on Thursday.