As noted yesterday, the November sales results were interesting and edifying. The first five things I learned by digging into the sales tales ran in this space yesterday. Here are the last five observations I drew from the November’s results:
6. Electric cars are short-circuiting. Last month, Nissan Canada sold seven LEAF battery cars. Sales were down 83.3 per cent from the 42 sold in November 2011. Mitsubishi sold eight all-electric i-MiEVs. This despite the fat, fat taxpayer incentives available to buyers. Politicians may love EVs, but for real buyers, not so much.
7. General Motors: No. 3 and staying that way. At some point you’d think the alarms would start howling at GM Canada. November sales were down 3.2 per cent last month and they’re down 5.5 per cent on the year. This in a market that’s up 6.5 per cent on the year. GM will again finish No. 3 overall in Canada in 2012, trailing No. 2 Chrysler (sales up 5.8 per cent on the year) and No. 1 Ford (up 1.0 per cent).
8. The mid-size sedan wars are taking their toll. Hyundai had a good November overall, yet sales of its Sonata mid-size sedan were down 12.6 per cent in November and they’re down 12.2 per cent on the year. This despite some pretty rich incentives. Well, folks, this is a tough segment. Ford has an all-new Fusion; Chevrolet a new Malibu; Nissan a new Altima; Honda a new Accord. Here’s proof that well-priced new products win out over well-priced older products, every time.
9. Ford remains a truck company. Ford of Canada has sold 259,194 vehicles through the end of November (Chrysler sold 227,581 and GM: 212.202). In that time, Ford’s truck sales totalled 194,715. Car sales: 64,479. So Ford sells about three trucks for every car. The Ford Focus, Fusion and Fiesta are all perfectly competitive and they did help Ford Canada increase car sales by 14 per cent last month. But it’s trucks, particularly the F-Series, that drive Ford sales.
10. Toyota and Honda are strong, strong brands. Toyota brand sales were up nearly 22 per cent in November; Honda brand sales up more than 22 per cent. Both had a rough go of it in 2011 and 2010, struggling with a long list of issues. But it would be foolish to underestimate the strength of these two brands. Decades of happy buyers refuse to be turned off by recall woes and production snags. And look for even better times in 2013. Honda has updated the 2013 Civic, its best-selling car and Canada’s, too. And Toyota has an all-new RAV4 coming in the new year – the RAV being Toyota’s best-selling light truck by far and one of Canada’s most popular.