Canadian consumers emerged from an unusually brutal winter season in a buoyant car-buying mood.
The auto industry saw sales in May jump 5.7 per cent to about 195,000 vehicles. That's after a 4 per cent increase to 178,703 units in April.
"We had gotten off to a little bit of a soft start due to severe winter weather," Bank of Nova Scotia economist Carlos Gomes said.
On an annualized basis, passenger vehicle sales soared to a record high of 1.89 million units in May, beating the previous high of 1.88 million units posted in January of 2008, according to the bank's monthly auto report published Friday.
Crossover utility vehicles once again led the pack, surging 17 per cent over the same period last year.
Scotia's economic unit is raising its full-year 2014 sales forecast by 10,000 units to 1.77 million in light of the stronger-than-anticipated performance over the past two months as well as a recent increase in industry incentives.
Canadian vehicle sales reached a record of 1.743 million last year.
On a global basis, car sales were up 4.5 per cent in May over the year-earlier period, compared with an increase of only 1 per cent in April.
China and the United States booked double-digit year-over-year gains, according to the report.
Volumes were also up throughout Asia and Western Europe. Sales in South America and Eastern Europe – especially Russia – remained weak.