Canada’s six largest automakers split between growth, decline

TORONTO — Toyota’s recall problems may have finally caught up with the automaker in April, as the automaker’s sales fell 16.7 compared with a year ago, after two months of double-digit sales gains.

TORONTO — Toyota’s recall problems may have finally caught up with the automaker in April, as the automaker’s sales fell 16.7 compared with a year ago, after two months of double-digit sales gains.

Toyota Canada Inc. sold 16,303 Toyota models and 1,370 Lexus luxury vehicles in April. That compared with 19,599 Toyotas and 1,621 Lexus vehicles in April 2009.

The drop came as overall light vehicle sales in Canada reported Monday were up four per cent from last April, according to figures compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers said the results point to evidence that the auto industry in Canada is being segmented into “a ’have’ versus ’have-not’ type of market.”

He said that the underperformance of companies like Toyota and General Motors, which saw a 20.4 per cent drop compared with a year ago, is helping drive the success of the “have” companies, like Ford and Hyundai, which reported 24.7 per cent and 15.6 per cent gains respectively.

“When you have three of the six largest companies in the industry in difficulty it leaves a lot of room for others to do well.”

Toyota has been fighting to regain its once-sterling reputation for quality after recalling more than eight million vehicles around the world due to acceleration problems in multiple models and braking shortcomings in the Prius.

“It didn’t (catch up with them) the first couple months into the problem likely because of pre-booked sales but now that buyers that were in the system have been cleared out there are a lot fewer buyers coming into their show rooms,” DesRosiers said.

“Clearly their heavy discount strategy didn’t work in turning around sales performance. It may have saved them from a worse month but didn’t save them from a bad month.”

General Motors of Canada, which just edged out Ford to sell the most cars and light trucks in Canada for April, said that excluding brands the company is phasing out or selling, Canadian sales actually improved.

The automaker has scaled back to just four core brands as part of its restructuring plan: Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC. The company is either selling or winding down its other iconic brands, including Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab.

“Our April sales results show continued progress towards our growth plan, as this is the fifth consecutive month we’ve increased retail sales of our core brands,” said Marc Comeau, GM’s vice-president of sales and marketing.

Honda, and its luxury brand Acura, also underperformed the rest of the market last month, with April sales down 1.5 per cent and year-to-date sales up 5.8 per cent in a market that is reporting double digit growth.

DesRosiers said the brand’s reluctance to “play the heavy discount game” has hurt their sales performance.

Meanwhile, Chrysler Canada said its soaring April sales are evidence the automaker is rebounding from the depths of last year’s downturn, when it filed for bankruptcy and was forced to restructure using government bailout money.

Chrysler Canada reported a 35 per cent jump in sales last month and Ford Canada saw its sales rise 24.5 per cent compared with last year.

“No question 2009 was a difficult year for Detroit — heck, even the Red Wings struggled — but this year is different,” Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Chrysler Canada, said in a statement Monday.

Chrysler Canada said its April sales jumped 35 per cent to 20,630 vehicles, up from 15,311 in the same month last year and the highest level since June 2008.

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. — the only one of the so-called Detroit Three to avoid filing for bankruptcy and a government bailout — said it sold 23,441 vehicles in April, compared with 18,828 in April 2009. Truck sales were up 27.5 per cent and car sales rose by about 14.4 per cent.

Hyundai said it sold a record-breaking 12,495 vehicles in April, up 15.6 per cent from the same month last year and shattering the company’s previous record of 11,200 units sold in May 2009.

Automakers also reported their April sales results from the U.S. Monday, where the industry stayed on the road to recovery in April after last year’s dismal numbers, with most major automakers seeing double-digit sales gains.

But sales were down from March, when Toyota launched record-high incentives to lure buyers after a series of safety recalls.

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

Just Posted

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

FILE - In this Friday Aug. 21, 2020 file photo, Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, addresses the media in Berlin, Germany. Activists for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are calling for massive protests in the heart of Moscow and St. Petersburg as Navalny's health reportedly is deteriorating severely while on hunger strike. Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Navalny, said the demonstrations are called on short notice for Wednesday April 21, 2021, because "his life hangs in the balance. ... We don't know how long he can hold on." (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
Navalny’s team calls protests amid reports of failing health

MOSCOW — Associates of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called Sunday… Continue reading

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference Sunday, April 4, 2021, at the Manatee County Emergency Management office in Palmetto, Fla. DeSantis has received a single-dose coronavirus vaccine. His office confirmed Wednesday, April 7, 2021 that the Republican governor got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only a single dose. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, file)
GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

WASHINGTON — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left… Continue reading

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

Most Read