While all three countries in the North American bloc saw its auto sales decline in November, the U.S. market keeps showing better results than most analysts expected. Mexico posted its best sales volume in the last 11 months, but it’s still 5.4% below 2017 levels. Meanwhile, Canadian auto dealers are having a hard time selling vehicles despite a strong consumers confidence.
Beating up all expectations, auto sales in the U.S. market decreased just 0.5% during November, figures from AutoNews Data Center show. Auto dealers in the U.S. sold 1,392,244 cars and light trucks last month, according to AutoNews, which is well above the 1.36 million units forecasted by Cox Automotive and the 1.37 million expected by Edmunds.
Seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate totaled 17.55 million, also above the 17.1 million units predicted by Cox Automotive, and the 17.3 million that Edmunds forecasted.
November sales marked the fourth month of volume decline over the past five months, but also the first year-over-year drop for the 11th month of the year since 2009.
Year-to-date sales through November are now of 15,695,288 vehicles, which is still a figure 0.4% higher compared to 15,634,467 units sold over the same period of 2017.
The United States represents the biggest market for Mexico automotive exports. According to official data, from January to November, 2.33 million vehicles were shipped to the United States. That figure is 8.5% higher compared to 2017 data and represents 73.85% of total Mexican exports, as well as 14.85% of the 15,695,288 vehicles sold in the U.S. over that same period.
Last November, auto dealers in Mexico sold 133,791 new cars and light trucks. The figure represents the highest monthly sales volume in 2018 so far, but still is 5.4% lower than the 141,434 units sold over the same month of 2017.
Year-to-date sales through November are now of 1,279,495 vehicles, down 6.7% compared to sales of 1.37 million units from the same 11-month period of 2017.
Auto sales in Canada dropped in November for the ninth straight month, dipping 9.4% to 143,668 vehicles, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (PDF). Year-to-date sales through November totaled 1,870,703 units, which represents a 2.3% decline.
This year will mark the first since 2009 that auto sales have not increased in Canada. However, 2018 will still be second best year in sales volume.
An increase in consumer confidence of over two points in November did not overweight the decision of the Bank of Canada, which last October hiked interest rates for the fifth time in 16 months, while signaling more increases could come in 2019. Analysts said interest rates were one of the main reasons that kept Canadians from buying new cars.
Passenger car sales fell 11.4% compared with last year to 30,031 units sold. Light truck sales were down 8.7% to 104,737 vehicles.
Canada is Mexico’s second most important destination for auto exports. From January through November Canada imported 233,898 Mexico-made light vehicles. However, the figure is actually 7.3% lower compared to same data from 2017.
All the Big Detroit 3 automakers posted sales declines in Canada. General Motors saw its sales slide 18.3% to 19,296 vehicles. Ford sales declined 10.7% to 21,223 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported the steepest drop of 35.1% to 12,366 units.
Toyota outsold FCA with 16,787 cars and light trucks, which represents an 11.5% increase.