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June 5, 2003

CANADA: Imports gain at Big 3’s expense in May – report

Import brands again nibbled away at the market share of Canada's biggest home-based car companies in May, according to Reuters. The news agency said two of the country's three biggest car makers reported weaker sales figures on Tuesday, dragging down overall ‘Big Three’ sales by about 4%, despite attractive incentive packages, including no-interest financing, designed to lure buyers into showrooms.

By bcusack

Import brands again nibbled away at the market share of Canada’s biggest home-based car companies in May, according to Reuters.

The news agency said two of the country’s three biggest car makers reported weaker sales figures on Tuesday, dragging down overall ‘Big Three’ sales by about 4%, despite attractive incentive packages, including no-interest financing, designed to lure buyers into showrooms.

“They have to be disappointed. They are down at a time of record levels of incentives on their brands and it’s just not working in the market place where most of the import brands, with little to no incentives, are up,” independent automotive analyst Dennis DesRosiers told Reuters.

According to the news agency, General Motors of Canada’s combined May sales dropped to 53,972 cars and light trucks, down 7.2% from 58,162 vehicles sold during the same month a year earlier.

GM sold 29,481 cars last month, down 8% from 32,045, Reuters said, adding that GM truck sales, which include sport utility vehicles and minivans, slipped 6.2% to 24,491 from 26,117.

Reuters reported that DaimlerChrysler Canada May vehicle sales dipped 6.7% to 23,901, from 25,604 a year earlier, including 5,773 cars, down 15.8% from 6,854, and truck sales of 18,128, down 3.3% from 18,750.

Ford Canada posted a 5.2% gain to 28,460 vehicles from 27,060 a year earlier, the news agency said, shifting 19,053 trucks in May, up 6.1% from 17,964, and 9,407 cars, up 3.4% from 9,096.

Reuters said year-on-year sales for the Big Three producers were down a combined 9.8% for the first five months of this year as they struggle to keep up with last year’s high sales which were encouraged by major incentive packages.

In contrast, the news agency noted, Toronto-based Toyota Canada set new sales records in May, with total vehicle sales climbing 10.8% to 20,910, including car sales up 4.3% to 15,145 for the month, and truck sales up 34.3% to 4,879 units, while Lexus sales climbed 22.7% to 886 units.

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