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New motor vehicle sales

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The Daily

Monday, April 16, 2007
February 2007

The number of new motor vehicles sold fell a further 3.7% in February following a 4.0% decline in January. This setback followed two months of strong sales gains in November and December of last year.

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Consumers purchased 137,443 new vehicles in February, a decrease of 5,262 units from the previous month. Preliminary data from the automotive industry indicate that the number of new motor vehicles sold in March remained relatively unchanged from February.

Over the past several months, sales of new motor vehicles have been volatile with periods of offsetting declines and gains. Much of this volatility resulted from dealer promotions and the introduction of new 2007 models. Previously, sales had been relatively stable since the end of 2005.

Truck sales dominate declines

While both passenger cars and trucks registered sales declines in February, truck sales dominated the decrease. Passenger car sales edged down 0.4%, while truck sales dropped 6.9% in the same period.

Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted.

Passenger cars include those used for personal and commercial purposes, such as taxis or rental cars. Trucks include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses.

North American built new motor vehicles include vehicles manufactured or assembled in Canada, the United States or Mexico. All other new motor vehicles are considered to have been manufactured overseas.

For reasons of confidentiality, data for Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included with those for British Columbia.

The New Motor Vehicle Sales Survey is compiled on the basis of figures obtained from motor vehicle manufacturers and importers. These results may vary from those obtained directly from auto dealers, due to possible differences in record keeping.

Truck sales (which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses) of 67,963 vehicles in February were still about 850 vehicles more than in an average month in 2006. Before falling in February, sales of new trucks had increased for four consecutive months.

Consumers purchased 69,480 new passenger cars in February, a decrease of just over 250 vehicles from the month before when sales plunged 8.2%. Sales had rebounded in November (+5.2%) and December (+6.2%) following a drop in October (-7.7%). Previously, passenger car sales had been relatively flat during the second half of 2005 through to the third quarter of 2006.

The decline in passenger car sales in February was entirely attributed to lower sales of overseas-built cars, which declined 2.4%. Consumers purchased 24,616 overseas-built cars, grabbing 35.4% of the passenger car market share. This is higher than the 2006 average of 33.6%. North American-built passenger cars did not rebound from a 12.8% plunge in January, merely edging up 0.8% in February to 44,864 vehicles.

Almost all provinces post declines

Sales of new motor vehicles declined in all provinces in February, with the exception of British Columbia, which inched ahead 0.4%. This small gain followed a 5.0% drop in January.

The Atlantic provinces reported the steepest declines in February. New Brunswick posted the largest decline, plunging 9.5% to 2,925 vehicles, the lowest sales level since June 2006. Prince Edward Island (-8.5%), Nova Scotia (-7.0%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-4.2%) all posted rates below the national average (-3.7%).

New motor vehicle sales in Ontario fell 4.6% to 49,625 units, a decrease of 2,408 vehicles compared with January. This figure represents 46% of the national decrease, despite the fact that Ontario represents only one-third of the Canadian automotive market.

New motor vehicle sales in Saskatchewan declined 5.0% in February, the first decrease since October 2006. Sales in Alberta decreased for a second consecutive month, falling 4.6%.

Quebec (-2.7%) and Manitoba (-2.2%) were the only provinces to post declines above the national average.

Available on CANSIM: tables 079-0001 and 079-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2402.

The February 2007 issue of New Motor Vehicle Sales (63-007-XWE, free) will be available soon.

Data on new motor vehicle sales for March will be released on May 15.

For general information or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-877-421-3067; 613-951-3549; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Ashley Ker (613-951-2252), Distributive Trades Division.

Tables. Table(s).