Japanese-Brand Automakers Hit Record Sales

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Canada’s Japanese-brand automakers posted a fifth consecutive year of record sales in 2018, with the total light vehicle sales setting a new record of 733,318 units, boosting market shares to 36.9% in Canada.

Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada released these figures in late January, also showing that many of its members also achieved new sales records. These members include Hino Motors Canada (medium duty trucks), Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Nissan Canada, Subaru Canada, and Toyota Canada.

Japanese automakers invested about $1.9 billion in 2017 and 2018 for vehicle manufacturing and assembly operations in Canada. While their production fell 7.1% to 930,140 units, the share of light vehicle production increased to 46.5% as total output in Canada declined to just under two million light vehicles. The decline was mostly due to softer demand for sedans and the transition at TMMC to building the next generation RAV4 in Woodstock. Still, for every vehicle that was sold, 1.3 vehicles were produced.

“Despite challenges in the auto sector across North America, much of which can be traced to uncertainty over global trade, Canada-based Japanese-brand auto manufacturers remain resilient,” said Larry Hutchinson, Chairman, JAMA Canada and President, Toyota Canada. “While Canada remains highly trade-dependent in a robust, rules-based global trade system, it is also important for JAMA Canada members that our success continues to be a made-in-Canada story.”

Seven out of ten of these light vehicles that were sold in Canada were built locally across North America. Imports from Japan remain crucial, though, to meet the varied transportation needs of Canadian consumers, with Canada exporting about 3.7 times as many Japanese-brand vehicles as they were imported from Japan. Nearly 78% of light vehicle production in Canada was exported in 2018.

“JAMA Canada members are responsible for driving a significant portion of Canada’s automobile industry,” said David Worts, Executive Director of JAMA Canada. “From manufacturing, importing and exporting vehicles and auto parts, to national distribution and over 1,200 dealerships across Canada, the Japanese-brand auto industry in Canada has built a partnership with Canadians that spans more than half a century.”

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