Big Three gain market share while auto sales down but rebounded in June

The Big Three North American automakers have increased their market share so far this year as a decrease in Canadian vehicle sales in June started to show signs of a rebound from COVID-19, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.

Ford, General Motors and FCA shared 43.6 per cent of the Canadian market as of June, compared with 41.3 per cent a year earlier even though total sales plunged 30.7 per cent to 280,365 vehicles.

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In the second quarter, they sold 134,295 vehicles, down 42.3 per cent from 232,548 in April to June 2019.

Ford led the way, selling 50,503 vehicles, just ahead of the 50,074 sold by GM. FCA was third at 33,718 while Toyota was fourth at 33,413.

For the month of June, new light vehicle sales were down by about 16 per cent in June from a year earlier with an estimated 155,439 units sold.

DesRosiers said such numbers would usually indicate paltry performance under normal circumstances, but during the pandemic are considered a significant improvement compared to the 74.6 per cent decrease experienced in April and 44 per cent drop in May.

"June undoubtedly saw the release of some pent-up demand into the market as blinking consumers took their first tentative steps out of their darkened lockdown basements and back onto the sun-kissed roads and highways," DesRosiers said in a news release.

It noted that uncertainty remains for months to come as the extent of pent-up demand isn't clear.

"Moreover, with virus case counts climbing once again in the U.S., Canada’s economic and public health recovery stands on an unsteady pillar. For the time being, however, the overall trend in new light vehicle sales is positive."

Total first-half sales reached 643,604 units sold, down 34.3 per cent from the previous year.

At 24.6 per cent, Kia sustained the smallest loss of sales year-to-date, while Infiniti's 60.6 per cent decrease was the largest.

Demand for passenger vehicles continued to decrease, representing just 21.1 per cent of vehicles sold in the first half of the year.

Light trucks accounted for 78.9 per cent of sales, up from 73.2 per cent a year earlier.

Passenger vehicle sales plunged 57.1 per cent in the second quarter to 67,319 units and was 30.7 per cent lower to 135,679 cars from January to June.

Light truck sales fell by 39.9 per cent in the quarter to 247,177 units and was down 29.2 per cent to 507,925 units for six months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020.

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