We love our trucks in Canada. Oh, yes we do.
Sales of large pickups are up 11.5 per cent so far this year. The best-selling vehicle in Canada is the Ford F-Series pickup, and with sales of 84,557 through the end of August, it is more than twice as popular as the best-selling passenger car, the Honda Civic (41,836).
Meanwhile, compact SUVs are up 10.2 per cent on the year, with luxury compact SUVs up even more, at 12.2 per cent. Five of the 10 best-selling light trucks in Canada are compact SUVs.
Cars? Subcompact sales are off 8.3 per cent this year, even though fuel prices are high and creeping higher still. We are not in love with sports cars, either – sales off 6.2 per cent.
Mid-size cars? Down 1.3 per cent, though the continued strength of the Ford Fusion (up 25.8 per cent) and Honda Accord (up a stunning 138.9 per cent) goes against the overall grain of the marketplace. And, of course, even as middle class take-home pay declines, luxury car sales are up 6.8 per cent.
So much for Canada being a country of thrifty drivers who embrace fuel-efficient small economy cars. As the numbers supplied by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants show, Canadians are moving to bigger vehicles. Sales of light trucks are up 5.6 per cent on the year, while car sales are up a paltry 0.7 per cent – that in a market up overall by 3.4 per cent year-on-year.
Our pickup love affair has been growing stronger over the years, too, notes DesRosiers.
“Back in the 1980s, they (large pickups) accounted for about 10 per cent of the overall market year in and year out. With the boom in the West, pickups grew in importance and for most of the last 20 years they accounted for roughly 13 per cent of total vehicle sales in Canada, with volumes consistently at about 200,000 units. However, over the last three years they have averaged closer to 260,000 units and this year they are tracking at about 300,000 units - a full 100,000 units above long-term tracking levels and closer to a 16/17 per cent share of the total market,” says DesRosiers in a note to clients.
Sure, sure some of that full-size growth can be attributed to the end of Ford Ranger sales in Canada. It was a popular compact rig and accounted for sales of about 20,000 a year. Those buyers have now migrated to big pickups or something else entirely. Meanwhile, General Motors’ small pickups, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado have not been a part of the marketplace as GM prepares to launch all-new versions next year.
DesRosiers believes that some of the growth in big pickup sales is for personal use as everyday rides. This trend looks particularly strong in the West. And as long as economies in the West stay strong, so, too, should full-size pickup sales.
What’s certain is this, says DesRosiers: “Ford’s F-Series will easily be the top-selling truck this year. Ford broke the 100,000 unit mark for the first time with the F-Series last year and is tracking 14 per cent higher this year.”
Here’s a look at Canada’s top 10 cars and light trucks through August 2013:
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants