TORONTO – Canadian auto sales soared to a record in 2014 as truck-loving drivers pushed sales up 6.1 per cent to smash the previous high-water market set in 2013.
According to sales data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, automakers sold a total of 1,851,373 new vehicles in Canada last year, up from just more than 1.7 million the previous year.
December sales were up 16.1 per cent to 131,393 compared with December 2013.
“This is the second year in a row that Canadians bought a record number of light vehicles,” DesRosiers said in a report Monday.
The increase came as truck sales for the full year grew 11 per cent to total 1,087,581 from a year earlier. However, car sales slipped every so slightly to 763,792, compared with 764,382 in 2013.
DesRosiers noted that 14 automakers posted new sales records in 2014.
Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd. posted its best year since 1997 to stake its claim as the top-selling automaker in the country as increased truck sales offset lower car sales.
The automaker narrowly edged Chrysler Canada which saw its sales grow faster than Ford, but fell just short in total sales.
“Ford moved into the number one position in September and didn’t look back, hanging onto the lead to the end of the year,” DesRosiers said.
Ford said it sold 291,951 cars and trucks last year, up 2.9 per cent from 2013. Truck sales totalled 229,603, up from 215,247, while car sales slipped to 62,348 from 68,341.
“We delivered another top-selling year by focusing all our efforts on what’s right for our customers,” Ford Canada president and chief executive Dianne Craig said in a statement.
For December, Ford sold 22,640 vehicles, including 5,142 cars and 17,498 trucks. That was up from 16,161 vehicles in December 2013, including 2,923 cars and 13,238 trucks.
Meanwhile, Chrysler said it set a new record for annual sales in 2014 as the tally of vehicles sold for the year was up 12 per cent at 290,004 cars and trucks for the year.
Chrysler said truck sales for the year totalled 255,119, up 20.1 per cent, while car sales amounted to 34,885, down from 47,514.
The automaker finished the year by posting a nearly 40 per cent gain in December sales compared with a year ago. Chrysler sold 21,613 vehicles for the month, up from 15,445 a year ago.
Truck sales for the month totalled 19,863, up from 13,907, while car sales improved to 1,750 compared with 1,538.
General Motors of Canada was third among the North American automakers as its sales for 2014 totalled 249,800 vehicles, helped by a record year for GM pickup trucks.
GM’s total for the year was up more than six per cent from 234,944 in 2013 as truck sales gained 6.2 per cent and car sales rose by 6.5 per cent.
The overall increase came as GM said it finished 2014 with a strong December, helped by sharply higher car sales. Sales in December totalled 19,247, up 13 per cent from December 2013.
The increase for the final month of the year came as car sales increased 22.9 per cent to total 5,880 from December 2013. Truck sales for the month totalled 13,367, up 9.1 per cent .
Meanwhile, Toyota Canada said it sold a total — including its Toyota, Lexus and Scion nameplates — of 200,851 vehicles, up from 195,359 a year ago. Truck sales accounted for 99,928 sales, up from 92,781 in 2013, while car sales slipped to 100,923 compared with 102,578 the previous year.
For December, Toyota Canada sold 12,415 vehicles, up from 12,348 in December 2013. Truck sales totalled 7,193, up from 6,724 a year ago, while car sales fell to 5,222 from 5,624.