Vehicle sales soared 10 per cent last month from year-earlier levels, a record monthly performance that all but guarantees the industry will break the 1.9 million annual sales mark in Canada for the first time.
Auto makers in Canada delivered 160,573 vehicles in November, the first time since June that sales had topped those of the year-earlier month.
The November performance pushed the total for the year to 1.823 million vehicles, just 75,000 short of the record 1.898 million annual record set last year. December sales have topped 100,000 units in each of the last seven years so the 1.9 million level should be surpassed easily and reach a fourth-straight annual record.
The increase in November sales was driven by strong consumer confidence and an abundance of deals in the market, said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, which represents Asia- and Europe-based auto makers.
The deals will proliferate in December as well as auto makers strive to meet year-end sales targets.
General Motors of Canada Ltd. took top sales spot in the month with a 31-per-cent gain that propelled the auto maker to its best November results in more than a decade.
Sales in the U.S. market hit 17.9 million vehicles last month on a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate basis, assisted by Black Friday incentives at U.S. dealerships.
Strong December results could lead to record U.S. sales, Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with consulting firm IHS Markit, said in a note Thursday.
"However, any gain in 2016 will be smaller than recent years as the market is reaching a plateau," Ms. Brinley noted.
The slowing pace of growth in the U.S. market is expected to lead to increased incentives, she said.
U.S. auto makers spent $570 more on incentives last month than they did in November, 2015, Mark LaNeve, vice-president, U.S. marketing, sales and services for Ford Motor Co., said on a conference call Thursday with analysts and reporters.