Canadian new light-vehicle sales reached 105,421 units in February, 2.3% ahead of the 103,025 sold in like-2013. Both months had 24 selling days.
It was the fourth-best February sales report in history behind the record 110,895 units recorded in the same month in 2008.
The industry’s relatively strong performance was due to record demand for light trucks, sales of which hit 65,112 units — an average of 2,713 daily that beat by 11.4% the 2,435 units each of 25 days in February 2012, when 60,864 vehicles were delivered.
Record-busting demand for light trucks more than offset weak car sales that reached just 40,309 units, the third-worst February in the last 29 years, trailed only by 2009’s 39,869 deliveries and 2011’s 38,626 units.
Fiat Chrysler was among the largest beneficiaries of the swing to light trucks, parlaying a 15.9% increase light-truck sales into a 9.5% overall gain.
That kept Chrysler solidly in first place for a second consecutive month, despite a 15.8% drop in car sales that included a whopping 87.7% decline for its aging midsize Dodge Avenger.
Second-place Ford posted a 3.8% increase in light-truck deliveries compared with year-ago, but that was not enough to overcome a 16.1% shortfall February car sales, although the F-Series pickup remained Canada’s best-selling vehicle.
For General Motors, February was lackluster across the board, with a 13.7% falloff in car sales and a 3.9% decline in light-truck volume netting the auto maker a 7.2% shortfall in overall LV deliveries. GM responded to its weak performance with a raft of new and beefed-up sales spiffs that include 4-year, interest-free financing on its redesigned ’14-model Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
Among the high-volume Asian makes, Nissan/Infiniti turned in the best February showing, a 20.7% LV gain over year-ago, followed by Honda/Acura’s 12.4% increase.
Among Europeans, Jaguar Land Rover’s 31.0% year-over-year gain topped the list, followed by 5.3% for Daimler.
Industry LV sales in the first two months of the year were up 1.4% to 200,848 units from 108,104 in like-2013, but the Fiat Chrysler-Ford-GM triumvirate accounted for just 44.9% of the market, down from 47.2% a year ago.
Asian makes increased their share to 44.8% from 42.9% ,and European brands rose to 10.3% share from 9.9%.