TORONTO - Last month was both a kind and a cruel one for Canadian auto sellers, with some like Ford and Honda reporting their best October in years, while others like Toyota and General Motors experienced an overall slump.
'The mixed bag was reflected in sales figures compiled by Desrosiers Automotive Reports, which found light vehicle sales were up 1.4 per cent at 123,154 in October compared with 121,500 in the same month last year.
The figures included 55,395 passengers car sales, down 10.5 per cent from 61,865 in October 2009, along with 67,759 light truck sales, up 13.6 per cent from 59,635 last year.
Reporting independently, Ford said its sales were up eight per cent from a year ago to 19,664 vehicles, putting it on track to be the market leader in Canada. It was the company's best October since 1999.
Honda Canada said it just had the best October in five years, selling a total of 12,856 vehicles in the month, up 14 per cent from last year.
Toyota Canada reported October sales of 14,540 vehicles across all three brands — Toyota, Lexus and Scion — down 24.7 per cent from last year. However, truck sales were up 2.2 per cent for what Toyota said was its best October ever for truck sales.
Scion Canada, which launched in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver at the end of September, generated sales of 247 vehicles in its first full month of business.
General Motors saw year-over-year retail sales of all brands fall 11.9 per cent to 14,542 units in October from 16,508 a year ago. However, sales of its so-called core brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac — were up 5.8 per cent at 14,514 units from 13,720 in October 2009.
When GM fleet sales are included, overall sales were down 5.4 per cent at 17,940 units from 18,959 a year ago when major clearance efforts were underway for discontinued brand inventories such as Pontiac.
Chrysler Canada reported a six per cent increase in October sales to 15,168 vehicles compared with 14,263 in the same month last year.
So far this year, Chrysler sales are up 27 per cent at 175,240 vehicles and have already surpassed the full 12-month sales for 2009.
Three other automakers, Nissan Canada Inc., Kia Canada and Volkswagen Canada all reported their best October sales ever.
Nissan Canada Inc. said it sold 6,954 units last month, a 4.5 per cent over October 2009 and its fifth month this year of year-over-year growth. The figures included its Infiniti luxury brand.
Kia Canada, a relative newcomer to the Canadian market, sold 4,488 vehicles last month, a 24.6 per cent increase over last year.
Volkswagen Canada also announced its best October ever. The company, which began operations in Canada in 1952, sold 4,306 units during the month, 22 per cent more than last year's total of 3,545.