Unsold 2018 Elantra sedans sit at a Hyundai dealership in Littleton, Colo. on Sunday, June 24, 2018. Auto sales in September were 2.4 per cent higher than September 2019, marking the best month for auto dealers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/David Zalubowski

Auto sales bounce 2.4 per cent in September in best showing since outbreak

Ford has led the pack this year in terms of sales

TORONTO — Auto sales in September were 2.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, marking the best month for dealers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. said on Thursday that 169,876 light vehicles were sold in September, up from 166,488 in September 2019.

Andrew King, the managing partner of the consultancy, said the sales marked a huge step forward for the auto industry, which saw sales plunge during the initial COVID-19 lockdown.

King said the question is whether the sales momentum can keep up if a second COVID-19 lockdown comes into force.

“COVID-19 cases may have started to rise worryingly toward the end of September but it didn’t slow down the automotive market for the month,” King’s report said.

“For now, however, sales are climbing with September easily being the most impressive month we have seen since the pandemic started.”

Ford has led the pack this year in terms of car sales, selling 190,000 of the 1.15 million autos in 2020, while Kia sales rebounded over the summer.

But sales are still down 23.7 per cent year-to-date, compared with this time last year, DesRosiers said in the report.

Scotiabank analysts Rebekah Young and Raffi Ghazarian released an auto sales forecast to clients on Tuesday, using August data and looking ahead to Thursday’s September data release.

They said that Canada auto sales have so far followed the same pattern as the rest of the world: losing steam.

Any strength coming out of Labour Day weekend sales is likely to “normalize” in the months ahead, wrote Young and Ghazarian, although this month’s successful union negotiations between Unifor and Ford Motor are a positive sign for Canadian auto supply chains.

The Scotiabank report noted that Canadians saved money in the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown, then rushed out to spend some of the savings over the summer. Emergency income supports helped keep household finances steady, Young and Ghazarian noted.

With a second wave of COVID-19 cases potentially arriving, consumers’ buying habits could depend on whether renewed stay-at-home orders keep rubber from hitting the road.

“Consumer intention surveys are pointing to potentially new demand … as a result of the pandemic, including fears of using public transit and ridesharing services,” said Scotiabank’s forecast.

The Scotiabank report also cited a Sept. 15 survey by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Regulator, which indicated that 46 per cent and 38 per cent of new and used car shoppers did not test drive the vehicle before making their purchases during COVID-19.

“This suggests consumers may be more flexible in the purchasing process,” wrote Young and Ghazarian.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.

Autos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Alberta government is pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing. Dr. Deena Hinshaw,… Continue reading

A $2.3-billion expansion of Alberta’s natural gas transportation system has been approved. “This should provide significant benefits — and we need every little bit of economic boost we can get,” says Reg Warkentin, policy adviser for the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Flickr photo)
Red Deer-area to benefit from $2.3 billion gas pipeline expansion project

Project will add 344 km of new pipeline between RMH and Grande Prairie

Dustin Snider was elected the new board president for Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Earl’s Restaurant manager re-elected Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce president

Dustin Snider has been re-elected president of the Red Deer & Distict… Continue reading

Red Deer singer Kayla Williams hopes listeners fed up with the pandemic are comforted by her new song, Stealing from My Youth, which is digitally available for streaming on Friday. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer singer summarizes universal pandemic feelings in a new single

Kayla Williams releases ‘Stealing From My Youth’ on Friday

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer urged Red Deerians to take more pandemic precautions to stem the rising number of local cases of COVID-19. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer mayor urges citizens to take more pandemic precautions

Active cases are rising at a ‘concerning’ rate

Grade 6 students at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School showcase materials designed to raise funds for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
St. Thomas Aquinas students raise funds for Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation

Grade 6 students at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School showcased their learning… Continue reading

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

Red Deer AAA Bantam Rebels forwards Riley Yzerman helps teammate William Jamieson, right, celebrate his goal against the Leduc U15 AAA Oil Kings at Servus Arena Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
U15AAA Rebels dominate to open AEHL season

U18AAA Optimist Chiefs also grab first win of 2020-21 season

Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray celebrates running the ball for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Murray has happy homecoming, Cards cruise past Cowboys 38-10

‘Monday Night Football’ debut for Murray

Most Read