Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Auto sector hard hit

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Canada’s motor vehicle industry has seen periods of strong growth and those of sharp downturns. The year 2008 was no exception: the auto sector was hit hard by a sharp downturn in the U.S. economy.

The steep decline in the assembly of cars and light trucks, which began in December 2007, accelerated sharply in 2008. Retail motor vehicle sales in the United States fell steadily in 2008 to a 17-year low, at least partly attributable to record gasoline prices, reduced access to credit, and weakening consumer confidence. By December, retail auto sales were nearly 50% below their May 2007 peak.

Auto production at Canada’s 11 assembly plants fell 20% to 2.0 million vehicles (equal to the annual output of two plants). That affected subsidiary industries such as sales of motor vehicle parts, which dropped 21%.