April sales up 2.3% but still below pre-pandemic levels

New light-vehicle sales in April were up 2.3 per cent compared with the same period last year, but still below pre-pandemic levels, at an estimated 144,069 units compared with 180,616 in April 2019, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Sales in April were also slightly below March.

All figures are estimates now that the vast majority of automakers report sales on only a quarterly basis.

DesRosiers managing partner Andrew King said in a statement that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for April was 1.48 million units.

King says that’s easily the weakest reading so far in 2023, and a worrying sign for future market development.

So far, 2023 is mirroring 2022 and 2021, the consulting firm says, with the traditional automotive spring selling season failing to materialize.

That’s despite the auto sales market managing to post six consecutive months of percentage increases, year-over-year.

HOW THEY FARED

Honda was the biggest individual gainer among the handful of automakers that still report monthly. Its total April sales totaled 12,194, up 40 per cent, year over year. The Honda brand did the most of the lifting, with sales up 45.7 per cent to 11,310. Luxury Acura sales were down 7.3 per cent to 884.

Toyota saw its sales dip by 3.5 per cent to 19,616. However, its luxury Lexus brand had its best month ever, selling 3,061 vehicles, up 21.1 per cent over a year ago.

In a news release, Toyota Canada said it posted record-setting electrified vehicles in April. Electric-vehicles accounted for 48.1 per cent of total sales, and “both Toyota and Lexus divisions saw record electrified vehicle uptake last month,” the automaker said.

Toyota says electrified vehicles represented 48.2 per cent of all Toyota units sold in April 2023, led by record April sales for RAV4 Hybrid, Corolla Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid and Tundra Hybrid. Electrified vehicles also represented 47 per cent of all Lexus units sold in April 2023, with NX Hybrid, NX PHEV and RX Hybrid all setting April sales records. However, the automaker didn’t provide numbers by volume.

Subaru sales were up 25 per cent to 4,318 compared with last April.

The Canadian Press and Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.

The report will be updated.

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