Canadians last year purchased more than two million vehicles for the first time thanks to record sales of light trucks.
DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. said new vehicles sold in 2017 hit a high for a fifth consecutive year.
“The new record currently stands at 2,038,798 units sold in Canada, an astonishing total that has come off the back of nine months seeing record levels of sales,” it said in a news release Wednesday.
The milestone was reached despite lower sales in the last two months of the year when sales fell 1.1 per cent in December and 1.2 per cent in November.
Sales in 2017 increased 4.6 per cent over 2016, marking the eighth consecutive year of sales increases since the financial crisis of 2009.
DesRosiers said light truck sales grew 8.7 per cent to nearly 1.4 million units last year.
Passenger car sales were down 3.4 per cent to about 640,000 units, the lowest level since 1964.
Most major brands achieved record sales, including luxury brands Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
The only car brands to have reduced sales in 2017 were FCA (down 3.7 per cent), Hyundai (down 6.1 per cent) and smart (down 80.4 per cent).
Ford led with 308,500 unit sales, up 1.1 per cent on the year, compared to General Motors which saw sales surge 13.3 per cent to 302,800 vehicles.
FCA was the third-largest car brand with sales of 267,052, followed by Toyota at 199,782 and Honda at 176,951.
Ford said its F-Series remained Canada’s favourite pickup for the 52nd consecutive year and the best-selling vehicle for an eighth year with sales of 155,290 units.
Its Escape was also the leading SUV with sales of 47,880 units.
General Motors sales grew mainly due to a 17.5 per cent increase in the GMC brand. However, Chevrolet remained its largest brand as sales increased 12.9 per cent to 171,000 units. Buick was down 0.4 per cent to 18,981 vehicles.
The Detroit automaker said it sold 2,122 new all-electric Bolt vehicles, while sales of hybrid electric Volts increased 24 per cent to 4,313.
Despite lower overall sales, FCA said its Ram brand had a record year with sales increasing 10 per cent to 103,843 vehicles.
The carmaker said the three products manufactured at its Brampton Assembly Plant saw sales increase. Dodge Challenger and Charger sales were up eight and 30 per cent respectively, while Chrysler 300 sales were up 18 per cent.
It remained the leading minivan provider with sales of Canadian-made Chrysler Pacifica vans increasing 142 per cent, while Caravan sales were off nine per cent.
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press