Car buyers choose deals on gas-guzzlers over being green

More proof that Canadian consumers tend to talk a lot about being environmentally conscious but often fail to change their own behaviour: Sales for gas-guzzlers in Canada jumped in November compared to year-ago levels while sales of tiny efficient vehicles dropped. This change came despite the presence of some generous federal government rebates on fuel-efficient vehicles and gas prices that remained relatively high.

Automotive consultant Dennis Desrosiers, in his most recent newsletter, notes:

… luxury SUV [sales] up 14.3 per cent, large pick-up increased 8.7 per cent, small Luxury vehicles up 0.9 per cent despite a fair number of US purchases that don't count in the Canadian numbers. The whole category of large/luxury/sport was up 0.2 per cent in a market that was down 5 per cent. So much for high fuel prices, so much for feebates …. discount a vehicle and consumers will buy more.

Indeed small entry level vehicle sales were down 9.3 per cent, the largest drop this year . . .

The unintended consequences? Not necessarily good for the environment and little to nothing our governments can do about it. If vehicles are priced too high, consumers will just go to the States or buy used…. lower the prices to move the product and consumers in Canada buy them.  Governments should be careful with their approach to regulating our industry. Consumers will always find a way around these regulations.

For November, the number one selling passenger car in the country was the Honda Civic. Honda put 4,690 new Civics in Canadian driveways but that was a steep drop from November, 2006, when Honda sold 5,585 Civics. The other top-selling passenger cars in Canada in November were, in order (with percentage change in sales from last November in brackets): 2. Pontiac Grand Prix (+589.9%), 3. Mazda3 (-24.6%), 4. Honda Accord (+69.9%), 5. Ford Focus (+5.6%)

The top-selling light trucks, according to Desrosier’s research, were: 1. Ford F-Series (+4.3%), 2. Dodge Caravan (-17.7%), 3. Dodge Ram (+5.6%), 4. GMC Sierra (+2.4%), 5. Chevrolet Silverado (+3.6%).

Year-to-date, combined sales of passenger vehicles in Canada are up 0.4% at 807,988 units while combined sales of light trucks is up 6.1 per cent at 725,506.

One thought on “Car buyers choose deals on gas-guzzlers over being green”

  1. I think one huge factor has to be winter. It seems common sense given this harsher winter. Who buys a hybrid when you are worried about being stuck on the 400 overnight while they clean the place up ? Unless global warming kicks into gear enough that we have decent weather for at least 8 or 9 months out of the year, then maybe people can focus on more eco friendly vehicles. For our climate eco friendly vehicles just can't get the job done outside of the city.

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