Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Vehicles are loaded on transport trucks at Autoport Limited in Eastern Passage, N.S., on Oct. 15, 2013.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Canadian auto sales in February were down nearly 10 per cent compared with February 2020, the last full month before the lockdowns began due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to estimates compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, auto sales last month totalled 112,654 units, down from the 125,059 units of February 2020.

Despite some lifting of pandemic restrictions, much of the country was still in various degrees of lockdown in February, DesRosiers said on Wednesday. These, combined with microchip supply chain disruptions, led to a drop in light vehicle sales, the firm said.

Story continues below advertisement

Canadian light vehicle production was already down to its lowest levels since 1982 in 2020, the consulting firm noted in a separate report last month. COVID-19 was a factor, but Canada also lost ground to the U.S. and Mexico last year, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants managing partner Andrew King said in that report.

The supply chain of autos has been further strained by a worldwide computer chip shortage. General Motors said its CAMI plant in Ontario would be idle for at least a week this spring amid the chip shortage, and a Brampton, Ont. Stellantis plant was down in January. Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. recently said it is hoping that production can catch up from the chip shortage by the end of this year.

The move of buyers away from cars towards the light truck market also continued last month, DesRosiers said. Light trucks accounted for 83.5 per cent of the market in February compared with 78.9 per cent a year ago.

The relative popularity of trucks is an ongoing trend has also been noted by Statistics Canada. The agency said that while sales of light trucks, heavy trucks and buses were down four per cent in November from the year prior, passenger car sales fell 20.5 per cent that month.

Hyundai, for example, said on Wednesday that the Kona crossover was its most popular vehicle for Canada in February, with sales up 27.6 per cent from the same month last year, while sales of the Palisade SUV grew 37.8 per cent.

“While semiconductor-linked production woes deepened in North America, light vehicle sales in Canada and the U.S. managed to truck along in February,” said a research note by Erik Johnson, economist at BMO Economics.

“Excessive savings could boost demand as regions open, and automakers expect supply chain issues to resolve in (the second half of the year). Until then, sales growth may be sluggish, while prices could head higher.”

Story continues below advertisement

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies