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Full-size pickup truck purchases on record pace

2014 Ford F-150.

Ford

Sales of full-size pickup trucks are booming – sweet music to the ears of the Canadian units of the Detroit Three auto makers, which dominate the market with more than 95 per cent of the sales.

Auto makers delivered 280,062 full-sized pickups in the first 11 months of the year, up from 250,470 a year earlier. Those numbers have pushed the share of the overall market captured by pickup trucks to a record level of 17 per cent.

The boom in pickup sales is helping to drive record vehicle sales in Canada. After a record November that followed several strong months in a row, the industry is on pace to sell 1.75 million vehicles this year, which would shatter the record of 1.703 million sales set in 2002.

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The pickup truck numbers reflect several developments, said industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, who points to the boom in Western Canada, the health of the commercial vehicle market across the country and an increase in the number of people buying the vehicles for personal use.

"Pickup trucks have more stability in the marketplace than any other category," DesRosiers said.

The booming Western Canadian economy helps in two ways, he said, driving demand for pickups for business use in the oil patch – and the construction boom accompanying that growth – and giving rig workers the means to buy a pickup for personal use.

"Look at the last five years and the booming part of Canada in good times and even in bad was the West," he said.

The Ford F-Series leads the way and is the best-selling vehicle in Canada. Sales of General Motors pickups, redesigned for the 2014 model year, have risen 5 per cent in 2013. Chrysler pickup sales have soared 16 per cent.

It is one of the most competitive segments in the market and one where offshore-based auto makers are barely visible, with the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan the options for those who don't want to buy a Detroit Three product.

Even so, "it is one of the most intensely competitive segments because it's such a critical segment to GM, Ford and Chrysler," DesRosiers said. "They throw incredible amounts of effort at their pickup trucks. They're fighting it out tooth and nail."

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CANADIAN TRUCK SALES

Company

Jan.-Nov. 30 2013

Jan.-Nov. 30, 2012

Ford Canada

114,729

99,331

GM Canada

80,598

76,968

Chrysler Canada

74,702

64,155

Toyota Canada

6,896

6,714

Nissan Canada

3,317

3,302

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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