Feb. Sales Are Good, Future is Uncertain

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Canadian Light Vehicle Sales (Photo: Scotiabank Economics, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants)

Canadian auto sales numbers are positive for now, but outside factors, like the spread of COVID-19 spell uncertainty for the future.

According to the most recent Global Economics Auto News Flash, published by Rebekah Young, Director, Fiscal & Provincial Economics at Scotiabank, “preliminary estimates for Canadian auto sales suggest a boost of 2.1% y/y (nsa) growth in February at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.98 mn units.”

While the positive numbers reflect an increase of 3% (sa) in the month-over-month selling rate, Young warns that these numbers are educated estimates at this point, simply because the majority of automakers are no longer reporting on a monthly basis. 

While the initial numbers look good, Young warns that we can look forward to considerable volatility in auto sales number this year, due in part to the emergence of COVID-19.

“Despite decent job and wage performance, Canadian consumption has remained soft,” she added. “The 50 bps rate cut by the Bank of Canada today provides an impetus for auto sales but other factors may dwarf this driver in the near term.”

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