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Another year, another sales record for Canadian Car Sales

It's been apparent for several months that 2016 would be another record year for new-vehicle sales in Canada, barring some catastrophic intervention, and so it was. In spite of a slight, 2.6% decrease in December compared to the same month last year, total sales of 1,948,899 new cars, trucks and SUVs in 2016 were the highest ever, topping 1.9 million for the first time. Find out who's up and who's down.

That total was up 2.6% and almost 50,000 units from last year's tally of 1,898,485 vehicles, making 2016 the fourth record year in a row.

"It is absolutely stunning for the industry to reach the 1.95 million mark in vehicle sales," said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada (GAC). "It was not that long ago that 1.6 million units was considered an exceptional volume and 2016 has tracked 22% higher than those 'exceptional' volume levels."

The record market in 2016 was based on three distinct underpinnings, according to Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) - "SUVs, pickups and luxury vehicles."

For the first time ever, truck sales, including SUVs, accounted for more than 70% of the market in December (70.3%). Over the full year, trucks and SUVs claimed 66.0% of the market, compared to 62.3% in 2015.

While those 2016 results are well worth celebrating, there are indications that the four-year period of sales growth may have reached a plateau. Year-over-year monthly sales results were down for five of the past six months and December's seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) of about 1.7 million was the lowest since March 2015, according to DAC figures.

In addition, J.D. Power's Automotive Market Metrics report that new-vehicle 'days-to-turn' for December 2016 were up to 72, from 68 a year earlier.

Ford is #1

After losing the top spot to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in 2015, Ford came back with a vengeance in 2016, reclaiming the #1 position with a 9.3% increase to 304,445 sales for the year - topping 300,000 for the first time ever in Canada.

That figure surpassed FCA's total of 277,445 units - down 5.3% - by 27,000 vehicles. General Motors was again the third-best seller in Canada with 267,341 sales, an increase of 1.5% from 2015 and a gain of almost 20,000 units on second-place FCA.

Ford claimed a 15.6% share of the market (+0.9%), FCA 14.5% (-1.2%) and GM 13.7% (-0.2%).

Fourth-place Toyota (+4.4%) and fifth-place Honda (+6.4%) both improved their market shares, by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Sixth-through-tenth places on the sales chart were claimed by Hyundai (+1.8%), Nissan (+2.9%), Kia (+5.6%), Mazda (-3.5%) and Volkswagen (-14.7%). Subaru (+7.7%) had its best year ever to pass Mercedes-Benz (+6.0%) - the best-selling luxury brand - for 11th place overall.

Along with Ford, Audi, BMW, Honda, Hyundai/Genesis, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, and Subaru had their best years ever in 2016. Only Acura, FCA, Mazda, Mini and Volkswagen suffered sales declines.

As has become the norm, Ford's F-Series was the best-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall, while the Honda Civic was the best-selling passenger car.

[NOTE: Data quoted in this report were sourced from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Global Automakers of Canada and individual automakers.]