Canada Dec auto sales dip; yearly sales rise to breach 2 million mark

(Reuters) - Canada auto sales dipped by a percent in December, marking the second straight month of sales drop, but yearly sales were up by 4.6 percent crossing the 2 million mark for the first time, with light trucks continuing to be the bestseller in the country.

Chevrolet Equinox SUVs are parked awaiting shipment next to the General Motors Co (GM) CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

About 124,247 vehicles were sold in December, bringing the total number of units sold in 2017 to 2.03 million, according to a report published by the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC).

“It wasn’t that many years ago that sales levels over the 2 million mark would have seemed completely unrealistic, but there are a lot of positive fundamentals that have supported this growth, although the last two months of the year have seen sales growth moderate slightly,” GAC President David Adams said.

General Motors Co's GM.N December sales in Canada rose 9.2 percent but that of rivals Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MIFCAU.N and Ford F.N fell due to weak demand.

Detroit-based GM sold 19,801 vehicles in Canada last month, with Chevrolet accounting for more than half of the total sales. (

GM Canada sold 302,826 vehicles in 2017, up 13.3 percent over the previous year, contrasting with sales in the much bigger U.S. market where the Cadillac maker recorded a fall of 1.3 percent.

However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCHA.MIFCAU.N, reported a fall in monthly and yearly sales, hurt by a lower demand for its Jeep and Dodge branded vehicles in Canada.

The company said it sold 17,654 vehicles in December, a drop of 6 percent compared to the year earlier. Full-year sales fell 4.2 percent to 267,052 vehicles.

Ford reported an 11.1 percent drop in monthly auto sales, selling 17,565 vehicles in December. However, full-year sales were up by 1.3 percent.

“We are expecting a decline in auto sales for the year in 2018,” Scotiabank analyst Carlos Gomes said, noting that a slower Canadian GDP growth and vehicle price increases outpacing income growth to be likely factors.

Reporting by Akshara P and Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta