Japanese automakers saw vehicle sales increase by almost two per cent in 2018, marking a record-breaking sales year, while production in Canada was scaled back by more than seven per cent.
According to statistics released Monday by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada (JAMA Canada), just over 733,000 Japanese-branded light vehicles were sold in Canada in 2018. It marked the fifth consecutive year of record sales for Japanese automakers in Canada, bringing their market share up to nearly 37 per cent. At the same time, several Japanese automakers posted record sales in Canada last year, including Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.
“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,” JAMA president and Toyota Canada president Larry Hutchinson said in a statement.
“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.”
According to JAMA, seven out of every 10 Japanese-branded vehicles sold in Canada were made in North America – at a time when production appears to be slipping.
After two years that saw more than one million vehicles produced in Canada, Japanese automakers saw production fall by 7.1 per cent to 930,140 units in 2018. JAMA said the overall decline was due to softer demand for sedans, and Toyota’s transition to building the next-generation RAV4 in Woodstock. Honda was the only manufacturer to increase production in 2018.
Despite the decline in production, Japanese-brands saw their market share of manufacturing in Canada increase to 46.5 per cent, due to declining vehicle production in Canada overall.
Overall vehicle sales in Canada fell 2.6 per cent from 2,039 million in 2017 to 1.985 million last year, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.