With all manufacturers reporting final new vehicle sales for 2012 this week, very solid growth propelled the retail auto industry to near-record highs for new car demand in 2012, says the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.
All told, new vehicle sales grew by an impressive 5.7 per cent in 2012 over the previous year, driven largely by a massive 9.5 per cent rate of growth for passenger cars.
At just over 1.675 million new units sold, 2012 represents the second-best year on record for Canadian new car sales.
“This is great news for the industry and the economy,” said Michael Hatch, chief economist for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.
“Consumers came back in a big way in 2012, responding to record levels of competition and affordability in the marketplace for new cars. Many of our members’ customers who had been sitting on their hands throughout the turbulent years preceding 2012 were in a tire-kicking mood last year, and a near-record number of them drove off lots with new vehicles.”
As always, a combination of factors led to last year’s strong new vehicle sales numbers. Consumers continue to take advantage of intense competition in the marketplace, attractive manufacturers’ incentives, financing options, and the strong affordability that comes with all of these forces.
As well, there continues to be a considerable amount of pent up demand in the market as a result of the recession of 2009 and the negative impact that this had on consumer confidence.
“Even several years after the downturn, we still have dealers telling us that many of their customers had been holding on to vehicles just a little bit longer than they would have in the past,” said Hatch.
“This speaks, of course, to the increased quality and longevity of today’s vehicles, but also to the continued effects of the recession in consumers’ minds. This was one of many factors that propelled near-record sales last year.”
The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association expects this positive sales growth to carry on into 2013.
Many of the same fundamentals that drove growth last year remain in place this year. It will only take modest sales growth in 2013 to reach a new record of more than 1.7 million new cars sold this year, a threshold the Canadian market should reach relatively easily this year, says a news release.