Scotia Economics says Canadians riding high on the soaring loonie imported a record number of new and used vehicles from the United States in October.
Throughout October — after the Canadian dollar had overtaken the slumping greenback — Canadians imported 137,000 new and used vehicles from south of the border, according to data from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.
Scotiabank auto industry specialist Carlos Gomes said Canadians imported 24,873 vehicles in October alone — twice as many as in October 2006 and a 68 per cent jump over this September's numbers.
Gomes said, "The import surge and vehicle price differential between Canada and the United States reflect the rapid appreciation of the Canadian dollar, and are not due to increases in the manufacturers' suggested retail price in Canada."
Scotiabank said the suggested retail price on many vehicles is between $4,000 and $5,000 higher in Canada than in the U.S.
Canadian new car prices were flat between 1998 and 2006, and have declined by five per cent so far this year. The pricing slump stems from manufacturers not adjusting their suggested retail price but offering better incentives and lease and financing deals.
However, new vehicle prices in Canada have fallen since the spring, leading to lower prices for used vehicles, the report said, noting that the bank's used car price index had fallen five per cent below a year earlier.
Most of that decline came from a drop in the price of year-old models.