LONDON, Ont. — Canadian automakers had another great year in 2013, posting record sales.
A Bank of Montreal economics report said light vehicle sales grew for the third consecutive year.
Preliminary numbers showed sales of light vehicles — which includes cars, SUVs and standard pickup trucks — jumped to 1.74 million units in 2013, an increase of 4% since the previous year and a 10% increase since 2011.
“A solid model lineup and new offerings from manufacturers at very generous financing terms will continue to generate interest from the Canadian consumer,” said Alex Koustas, and economist with BMO Capital Markets.
He said sales will remain strong but may drop off by the end of the year as the market becomes saturated and debt levels increase.
Koustas predicts auto sales will slide marginally from 1.78 million units in 2013 to 1.71 million units in 2014.
Despite the projected drop, annual auto sales are still expected to mark the third best performance on record.
Koustas says technological advancements and improved fuel economy, from compact cars to full-sized pickups, have helped with the continued growth.
Much of the boom in auto sales has been fuelled by credit. Since 2009, Canadian automotive loan balances have increased by 165% compared to 35% in total consumer loans.