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Thursday, November 13, 2003
New motor vehicle salesSeptember 2003
In September, the number of new motor vehicles sold declined for a second consecutive month. However, while sales were down 1.9% from August, this was the second smallest monthly change since the beginning of the year. In all, dealers sold 140,539 vehicles in September. This represented a decline of 2,733 units from August and was mainly attributable to passenger cars.
September's decline occurred despite the continuation of incentive programs to purchase new motor vehicles, which are often intended to clear out inventories of current-year models or to recapture market share. Sales for the first nine months of 2003 were down 3.7% from the same period of 2002. Cumulative sales lagged more in the first part of the year, with the gap starting to narrow in August.
The movement of new motor vehicle sales has remained generally stable for the past few months, following a period of declines that began at the start of 2003. New motor vehicle sales remained at a high level throughout 2002, following a period of sustained growth that prevailed during most of 2001.
On the basis of preliminary figures from the automobile industry, the number of new motor vehicles sold in October is estimated to have declined approximately 2%, with most of the decline attributable to trucks.
Passenger car sales down
In September, although sales of both passenger cars and trucks were lower, truck sales declined only marginally from August, whereas the decline for passenger car sales was more substantial.
A total of 72,017 new passenger cars were sold in September, a decrease of 3.4% following a rise of 0.3% in August. North American-built cars and overseas-built cars both contributed to this decline.
The movement of new passenger car sales has been slightly downward in recent months, following a period of steeper declines that began in the fall of 2002. Previously, sales had remained at a high level during most of 2002, following an upward trend that began in early 2001.
In September, truck sales edged down 0.3%. Dealers reported selling 68,522 new trucks, nearly the same number as in August, when sales declined 3.3%. Trucks include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses.
Despite September's decline, sales of new trucks have been following an upward movement that began a few months ago, following a period of decline that started in early 2003. Previously, sales had remained generally stable throughout 2002.
Quarterly sales confirm the popularity of trucks
In the third quarter, new motor vehicle sales rose 5.5% from the second quarter, when they were down 1.1%. However, third-quarter sales slipped 0.5% from the third quarter of 2002.
Truck sales in the third quarter were up 10.1% from the second quarter (+2.5%). On a year-over-year basis, third-quarter truck sales were up 5.7%. Sales of passenger cars increased 1.5% in the third quarter from the second, when they had declined 4.1%. Sales of new passenger cars in the third quarter were down 5.7% from the third quarter of 2002.
These third-quarter figures also show that trucks increased their market share, which reached 48.5% in the third quarter, compared with 46.5% in the second quarter and 44.9% in the first.
Ontario stands out
In September, the number of new motor vehicles sold was down in all provinces except Ontario.
In Ontario, sales advanced 2.1% from August, when they had declined (-1.9%). A major power blackout struck the province in August. Sales in Ontario have been fairly stable for the past few months, following a period of decline that began in early 2003. New motor vehicle sales had remained at a high level in Ontario throughout 2002. Previously, they had gone through a period of sustained growth that prevailed throughout most of 2001.
In the other provinces, the largest declines were observed in Prince Edward Island (-14.0%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-12.1%) and Nova Scotia (-11.6%).
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2402.
The September 2003 issue of New motor vehicles sales (63-007-XIB, $14/$133) will be available soon.
The October 2003 data on new motor vehicle sales will be released on December 11.
For general information or to order data, contact Client Services (1-877-421-3067; 613-951-3549; email@example.com). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Clérance Kimanyi (613-951-6363), Distributive Trades Division.