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Canada May 2021: Market down a steep -28.9% on pre-pandemic levels

Subaru sales soar 85% in May and the Crosstrek is up 165%.

The Canadian new light vehicle market is estimated to be up 35.8% year-on-year in May to 153.761 units according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, lifting the year-to-date tally up 28.9% year-on-year to 686.252. However, a big caveat to these figures is the depressed May 2020 comparison base. In fact, May 2021 volumes are down a steep -23.9% on May 2019 pre-pandemic levels, and the year-to-date tally is down -14.2% on the same period in 2019. The other area where the Canadian market is underperforming is the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Sales Rate) down to 1.48 million which is its lowest in exactly a year, since May 2020. A combination of Covid restrictions (Ontario, Canada’s largest market, was under a stay-at-home order until June 2) and the repercussions of the global microchip shortage are behind this disappointing result.

Note only a small group of automakers continues to share monthly sales data for Canada. Group-wise, Toyota Motor advances 70.9% year-on-year but remains off -12.3% on May 2019, while Hyundai-Kia is up 60.8% year-on-year and manages to lose only -2.2% on two years ago. Clashing with its record result in the neighbouring U.S., Honda Motor contains its gain to +24.9% which translates into a ghastly -35.7% loss on May 2019. In the brands aisle, Toyota (+71.6%) distances Hyundai (+69.1%) and Honda (+25.4%). Kia is up 46%, Mazda up 61.7%, Subaru surges 85% but remains down -6.3% on May 2019 while Lexus is up 64.6% on 2020 and up 2.7% on 2019. Volvo (+67.6%) also outpaces the market as does Genesis (+368.8%) to 375 sales.

Among models with available May data, the Toyota RAV4 (+116.9%) tallies the most sales but also the most impressive year-on-year surge. It distances the Honda CR-V (+63.3%) and Toyota Corolla (+77.4%) both also beating the market while the Honda Civic (+13.2%) isn’t that lucky. Outstanding performances also by the Subaru Crosstrek (+165%), Toyota Highlander (+146.7%), Hyundai Kona (+93.7%) and Hyundai Tucson (+85.1%). Further down the charts, the Kia Rio (+224.3%), Kia Niro (+212.2%), Toyota Camry (+195.4%), Acura MDX (+145.5%) and Hyundai Venue (+120%) also impress. The Volvo XC40 breaks its monthly volume record at 406 and the Toyota Venza and Kia Carnival top recent launches.

Previous month: Canada April 2021: Market up 254.4% on 2020 but down -10% in 2019

One year ago: Canada May 2020: Market fall reduces to -44.2% as dealerships reopen

May 2021 figures for selected groups, brands and models below.

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