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Chrysler beats GM in Canada for the first time ever

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General Motors of Canada Ltd. tumbled out of first place in monthly sales in February, a development for decades regarded as unthinkable in an industry it dominated as market leader for more than half a century.

Chrysler Canada Inc. grabbed top spot for the first time in its 84-year history and was followed closely by Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., which has not ranked ahead of GM in annual sales since 1949.

But there were few bright spots in either Canada or the United States in a February meltdown that highlighted the perilous state of much of the North American auto industry; Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. are being kept alive with government assistance, and a large chunk of the auto parts industry is perched on the brink of bankruptcy.

"We are in an automotive depression that is being exacerbated by 'The Great Recession' as shell-shocked consumers, fearful for their jobs, the value of their homes and stock market assets, are wary of making the sizable discretionary investment in purchasing new vehicles," Efraim Levy, auto analyst for credit rating agency Standard & Poor's, said in a note yesterday.

It was the worst February for U.S. vehicle sales since 1967, and the lowest February sales level in Canada in more than a decade.

GM Canada fell to third place as its sales plummeted 56 per cent, double the overall Canadian market plunge of 28 per cent.

GM's U.S. sales tumbled 53 per cent.

In Canada, GM has topped the market every year since 1950, when Buick Roadmasters and Ford Crestliners ruled the roads and Chrysler offered a brand called Plymouth for budget-conscious buyers.

GM once owned half the market in North America, but today its market share is down to about 20 per cent and vehicles made by Asian and European auto makers grab more than half the sales.

"Nobody has a God-given right to 50 per cent of any market," said Dimitry Anastakis, a history professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., and author of a book on the 1965 Canada-U.S. Auto Pact. "There's a kind of weird glee out there," about the decline of GM and Detroit, he noted. "You can beat up on them, but [the decline] is not good for anybody."

GM has received $13.4-billion (U.S.) in assistance from Washington and has asked for as much as $16.6-billion more. Chrysler has received $4-billion and wants another $5-billion.

The list of automotive supplicants was lengthened yesterday when Toyota Motor Corp., asked the Japanese government for about $2-billion in loans for its credit arm.

"February may be a watershed month in the Canadian and indeed the North American automotive industry," said Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ont.

GM Canada raised prices late last year and did not offer significant incentives at a time when other auto makers were doing so, Mr. DesRosiers said.

In addition, it has deliberately cut sales to rental companies and other fleet buyers.

"We were far more restrained on incentive spending than just about all of the competitors out there, GM Canada spokesman Stew Low said.

GM Canada said it will offer "exceptional deals" in March on subcompacts and minivans.

Strength in minivans helped Chrysler Canada become February's sales leader, president Reid Bigland said yesterday.

The company is excited about vaulting into top spot for the first time, Mr. Bigland said, but acknowledged that declines in the Canadian market have gotten deeper every month since last November.

Beating GM "is a significant achievement," added Ford Canada president David Mondragon, who said his company also beat Toyota Canada Inc. for the fourth straight month.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/sto...PStory/Business

How the frack did this end up happening, I frankly can't believe it but there you go. At least in Canada the consumers went to other American brands- all three still outsell Toyota. If it gets much worse I'm going to have to start making connections at Ford dealers.

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Understandable considering the situation of GM, the lack of incentives, etc as they state in the story. I suspect GM will come back with a vengence in March.

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Maybe WMJ was right, we are a nation of potheads. How else do you explain Chrysler taking #1?!?!

Still can't believe this. Chrysler. Seriously.

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I think it's down to massive rebates, on already cheap vehicles.

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Oh those whacky Canadians!

But seriously, is there even one affordable GM car right now that you would buy?

It's all "future product" or too expensive to buy during a recession.

Edited by SoCalCTS
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Not pot heads, just a knee jerk reaction to people hearing that GM might go bankrupt and lack of incentives to buy the auto's.

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Not pot heads, just a knee jerk reaction to people hearing that GM might go bankrupt and lack of incentives to buy the auto's.

Still doesn't explain why they went to Chrysler who is just as close to bankruptcy more than they went to Ford.

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Still doesn't explain why they went to Chrysler who is just as close to bankruptcy more than they went to Ford.

Would you want a Fix or Repair Daily in your driveway? :puke:

I borrowed a friends F250 Super Duty, what a piece, and yet they lead in selling trucks. I will never understand that.

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Not enough EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!! over at GM, it seems...

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Would you want a Fix or Repair Daily in your driveway? :puke:

I borrowed a friends F250 Super Duty, what a piece, and yet they lead in selling trucks. I will never understand that.

Well out of the other two Detroit Automakers Chrysler makes only two products that I would buy (300, T&C), while Ford makes more models that I would buy (Focus, Fusion, Taurus, Taurus X, MKS, MKX), so I'd have to go with Ford.

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Still doesn't explain why they went to Chrysler who is just as close to bankruptcy more than they went to Ford.

It could be because Chrysler hasn't been making announcements left and right, practically every other day that it was either going to shut down or sell divisions, or mention various operations could run out of money within weeks.

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^Nor did they threaten to pull out operations out of canada, some buyers actually thought GM were going to stop selling cars in Canada... ??!?!?

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It could be because Chrysler hasn't been making announcements left and right, practically every other day that it was either going to shut down or sell divisions, or mention various operations could run out of money within weeks.

I'm with you on this one. I've only read one article that was meant to inform the buying public that they would have little-or-nothing to worry about when it came to buying from GM, even if they fell into bankruptcy. People are just too ignorant to learn anything while the media are too quick to report just the bad news and not the whole story.

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^Nor did they threaten to pull out operations out of canada, some buyers actually thought GM were going to stop selling cars in Canada... ??!?!?

My thoughts exactly... Not only has GM been bombarded with bad press in general, they've also already pissed the Canadians off by killing a truck plant, threatened to pull out of Canada entirely AND decided to reduce Canadians beloved Pontiac to a niche division.

It's a damn wonder GM sold ANY cars up there this month.

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I'm with you on this one. I've only read one article that was meant to inform the buying public that they would have little-or-nothing to worry about when it came to buying from GM, even if they fell into bankruptcy. People are just too ignorant to learn anything while the media are too quick to report just the bad news and not the whole story.

1) Chrysler has nothing to lose.. They're toast either way. The media is focusing on breaking GM.

2) Chrysler is private.

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The media doesn't make the statements Saab should be merged with Volvo, Opel could run out of money if they don't get money from the government tomorrow and such, GM does. If the media feeds off of the bad press it's because GM gave them the ammo.

The difference is that I haven't seen any news of Chrysler asking for more money whereas I see new about GM asking for money still. It doesn't look good in people's minds.

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