Light truck volume continued to grow as a percentage of the market in 2022
Looking back, 2022 was a testing year for the automotive industry. Here in Canada, OEMs grappled with semiconductor and inventory supply issues, high consumer demand for vehicles, and then, as the year wore on rising inflation and interest rates took a bit out of consumers’ wallets. In many ways, it was a recipe for a perfect storm.
While domestic automakers, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler (Stellantis) were initially the OEMs impacted most by supply chains, vehicle deliveries began to improve during the course of 2022 providing some relief for dealers.
For import brands, 2022 proved to be decidedly a mixed bag. Reports from the Global Automakers of Canada for Q4 revealed that some OEMs headquartered overseas suffered bigger year-over-year losses than others. Luxury nameplates such as Jaguar and Land Rover were hugely impacted by supply chain disruptions in 2022. For Q4, deliveries in Canada were down 44.7% year-over-year in the case of Jaguar and 38.5% for Land Rover. Among mainstream brands, Nissan/Infiniti and Subaru were significantly impacted during 2022, boasting overall production declines of 22.4% and 22.6% respectively
There were however; situations where significantly declining passenger car volume was offset by smaller declines, or even gains in light truck sales, including the likes of Mazda and Toyota/Lexus. In fact, Toyota saw a whopping 198.1% increase in truck sales from its Guanajuato assembly plant in Mexico, while on the luxury side, production of Lexus RX crossovers from its Canadian plant in Cambridge, Ont. (up 61.2%) offset the losses in models imported from Japan (54.4%). Nissan also saw significant gains via its Infiniti luxury brand with U.S. assembly of crossovers and SUVs up 113.2%).
There were also some real anomalies during Q4, a good example being Mitsubishi, which was able to realize a 78.5% increase in passenger car sales during 2022 (1,626 units versus 911 the previous year).
Overall, the production of vehicles sold in Canada from GAC members reached 841,943 units during 2022, representing a 16.4% decline over 2021. In terms of segments, light trucks (including SUVs) have overall, continued to gain at the expense of passenger cars. Out of that total of 841,943 units, 632,806 constituted light trucks and SUVs, while specifically during Q4, light trucks posted a 2.0% gain in sales, while passenger car volume declined 16.9%.
As we move further into 2023, it will be interesting to see how things progress, given current inflation and higher interest rates that make borrowing more expensive for both businesses and consumers. Economists are predicting that if there is a significant uptick in demand this year, it will likely occur during the second half of the year, provided prices soften and inflation pressures ease. Autosphere will continue to bring updates on new vehicle sales during 2023 as information is made available.