BUSINESS

Auto sales climbed 3.4 per cent in February despite cold weather: analysts

03/03/2015 04:01 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Canadian auto buyers were undeterred by the cold weather felt in many provinces last month, helping auto makers mark the best February sales since 2008.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says Canadians snapped up 109,248 vehicles in February, up by 3.4 per cent from 105,865 in February 2014.

Trucks continued to grab more market share, with sales up more than five per cent to 68,049, while sales of passenger cars inched up 0.2 per cent to 41,199.

DesRosiers says light trucks now make up a record-high 63.3 per cent of the Canadian auto market, based on year-to-date sales figures.

General Motors of Canada Limited sold 13,806 vehicles in February, an increase of more than six per cent from the previous year.

Ford Canada saw its sales slip 7.4 per cent to 15,021, while FCA Canada Inc. saw a one per cent gain to 18,711.

"Given the coldest February on record for both Quebec and Ontario, the collapse in crude prices, and a declining Canadian dollar, it is a definite positive that Canadian consumers haven't been steered away from the new vehicle market," analyst Dennis DesRosiers said in a statement.

Toyota's sales advanced nearly 20 per cent from a year ago to 11,864, while Honda's sales slipped eight per cent to 7,200.

Scotiabank analyst Carlos Gomes noted that pickup trucks fared particularly well, with sales advancing 13 per cent year-over-year, led by a 44 per cent increase at General Motors.