January was not a good month for import nameplate brands in January, with most suffering sales declines.
“Only Volkswagen, Land Rover, Jaguar (on very limited volumes), Porsche and Mazda showed sales growth,” notes DesRosiers Automotive Consultants in a note to clients. “Surprisingly, both Kia and Hyundai saw sales declines, breaking the former brand’s 48 month consecutive sales streak. In this industry, streaks ultimately end as no company can grow month-in and month-out forever.”
The suffering of imports was good news for the three Detroit-based brands. Their combined sales, noted DesRosiers, jumped to 49.2 per cent of the total Canadian market, from 45.6 per cent a year ago.
“We take notice of tenths of market share change, so this large movement is quite significant. Holding it for the rest of the year will be a challenge,” said DesRosiers.
That’s one question to ponder as I review five other things I learned from the January sales figures.
6. Subaru had a tough start to 2013, with sales off by 3.4 per cent (1,814). Sales fell short (by 63 units) of the all-time January record set in 2012. This surprised me. After all, Outback sales were up 5.5 per cent year-on-year and Subaru Canada’s results were further buoyed by a model that wasn’t even in the lineup at this time last year – the XV Crosstrek, with sales of 404 in January.
7. GM Canada looks poised for a turnaround after a terrible 2012, when sales were down 6.6 per cent. Sales at Canada’s No. 3 auto seller were up 6.2 per cent in January. Moreover, GM is in the early stages of a massive product overhaul. Marc Comeau, the vice-president of sales, service and marketing, points out that in 2013 GM Canada will launch new or refreshed models that in total account for 70 per cent of the company’s total lineup.
8. Ford Motor may yet become more than a pickup and SUV company. Ford of Canada reported that car sales were up 24 per cent in January and overall the company had its best January in a decade. Sales of the Fusion mid-size sedan jumped 84 per cent and that’s noteworthy because the Fusion ended 2012 – a year during which many Fusions sold were the outgoing 2012 model – as Canada’s No. 10 best-selling passenger car. Ford Taurus sedan sales were up 71 per cent, though from a very small number in 2012.
9. Porsche just keeps on rolling along. January sales were up 11 per cent (to 161) on the heels of a 2012 during which Porsche sales topped 3,000 for the first time every (sales were up 35.6 per cent. Last month the all-new 911 Carrera4 began driving into dealer showrooms and later this year the Cayman sports coupe will arrive to bolster Porsche’s lineup.
10. After seeing sales increase for 48 straight months, Kia Canada’s streak ended in January. Kia Canada sales were off 2.7 per cent. (Hyundai Canada’s sales also declined for the first time in four years, by 1.5 per cent.) Kia Canada chief operating officer Maria Soklis says the 20 per cent annual growth her company has enjoyed for years will likely slow a little in 2013 – though the arrival of an all-new 2014 Kia Forte sedan and significantly redesigned 2014 Kia Sorento SUV will help Kia to stay on a positive track overall.