Many ‘remarkable aspects’ to 2023’s impressive sales performance

The last time the Canadian automotive market saw a sales increase as large as was observed last year was in 1997, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

In its Canadian December sales update, DAC said final sales for 2023 from reporting OEMs came in at 1.664 million units — an increase of 11.8% per cent from the 1.489 million units sold in 2022. An improvement in vehicle supply during the second half of 2023 helped boost sales, which notably and impressively rebounded as pent-up demand from the million units of “lost sales” from 2020-22 was “more than enough to overcome high interest rates, and worrisome economic weakness.”

“Of the many remarkable aspects of 2023’s performance, one of the most notable was the continued gain in light truck share,” said Andrew King, Managing Partner of DAC, in a statement. “For 2023, light trucks continued to push out an ever-shrinking pool of passenger cars, with trucks reaching a record share of 85.8% for the year, as Canadian consumers enjoyed the freedom to choose the vehicles they want to purchase.”

DAC had previously predicted that 2023 would be one of those “rare occurrences” when auto sales increased, regardless of the onset of a recession.

December sales were estimated to be 120,000 units, which represents an increase of 10.7% from the same month in 2022. According to DAC, the market has now experienced 14 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. Furthermore, sales are up in all provinces in Canada, from coast to coast to coast. They were also up 17.2% in the fourth quarter of 2023, with the SAAR “regularly tracking at levels near or above 1.8 million units.”

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