Canadian dealers closed the books on 2011 with sales of 1,581,733 cars and light trucks, a 1.7% gain over the 1,554,700 in 2010, despite weakened demand in December.
The gain was led by a 4.6% rise in light-truck deliveries, to 899,777 units from year-ago’s 860,351, that more than compensated for a 1.8% decline in new-car sales, to 681,956 from 694,349, largely due to Japanese-make inventory shortages.
Ford again led the industry with 2011 LV sales up 2.5%, and deliveries including medium-duty trucks up 3.0%. It also was tops in total sales, though its volume gain was the lowest among the Detroit Three.
The F-150 fullsize truck remained the country’s top-selling vehicle for a second consecutive year and the best-selling pickup for the 46th year.
GM nailed down second place for the year in spite of a 1.6% overall decline, while Chrysler ranked third on the strength of its 12.5% year-over-year gain.
Although December industry LV sales of 114,085 units topped prior-year’s 111,352, the daily selling rate trailed by 1.3% when the extra selling day in 2011 is factored in.
The Detroit auto makers sold 7.2% fewer LVs daily in December compared with like-2010, while European-brand sales dipped 3.1%.
Sales of Asian-brand light vehicles rose 5.8% for the month thanks largely to gains of 36.3% at Toyota and 28.0% at Nissan, as those auto makers appeared to have overcome most of their inventory difficulties.
Still struggling to rebuild its inventories, Honda Canada saw its sales trail December 2010 17.2%, netting it a 12.7% shortfall for the year, the lowest result for any Asian brand except for Suzuki’s 38.4% decline.