Canada sets record for new vehicle sales in 2015

A prominent auto industry analyst says preliminary figures show Canada saw another record year in 2015 for the number of new vehicles sold to consumers.

U.S. auto sales also hit record levels in 2015

Auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers says Canada saw another record year of new auto sales in 2015. (Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)

A prominent auto industry analyst says preliminary figures show Canada saw another record year in 2015 for the number of new vehicles sold to consumers.

Dennis DesRosiers said 1.898 million new vehicles were sold in Canada in 2015, which he said marked the third consecutive year the country saw a new record set.

"All the stars lined up last year," DesRosiers told CBC News in an interview on Tuesday, when describing the contributing factors to sales in Canada in 2015.

DesRosiers said gas prices and interest rates were low, consumers had many new products to choose from and there were a record number of old vehicles on the road that were in need of replacement.

Figures from DesRosiers show that Fiat Chrysler Canada claimed the top sales spot with 293,061 vehicles sold last year, up 1.1 per cent from 2014. Ford Canada, whose annual sales slipped 4.6 per cent to 278,437, came in second, while third-place General Motors Canada saw its sales climb 5.4 per cent to 263,335.

Sales of light trucks, which include SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks, rose 8.8 per cent over 2014. Sales of cars slipped 6.3 per cent.

Statistics Canada is not slated to release its own figures for December 2015 until February. Its figures for November will come out later this month.

DesRosiers said the statistics agency's total for 2015 will be higher than his own, as he is not counting the sales of some high-end, exotic vehicles, as Statistics Canada does.

For the January-to-October period of 2015, Statistics Canada reported the sales of about 1.66 million vehicles, according to data posted on its website.

Record sales in U.S.

It was also a record year for car sales south of the border, preliminary figures show.

U.S. auto sales hit an estimated 17.5 million last year, topping the old 15-year old record of 17.35 million. Low gasoline prices, a recovering economy and low interest rates are getting the credit for the sales boom. Small SUVs like the Honda CR-V and the Nissan Rogue were particularly popular this past fall.

GM and Ford were the best-selling brands, while Volkswagen saw sales fall five per cent for the year after it admitted in September that it cheated on U.S. emissions tests of its diesel vehicles. 

December will likely turn out to be the biggest-ever December for the auto industry, with nearly 1.7 million vehicles sold, according to the car shopping site, Toyota, Honda and Nissan all reported double-digit sales growth over the previous December.

Kelly Blue Book forecasts that 2016 sales could rise as much as three per cent to 18 million.   

With files from The Associated Press