Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 21

21

* F E B R U A R Y 2020

Auto execs' reactions to decline
as varied as their vehicle lineups
CONTINUED FROM PA GE 1

ipated another year of falling sales, with most predicting that the market would
settle to around 1.9 million
units sold, about a one-percent decline from 2019. But
how they are reacting to that
softening market varies from
company to company.
Ford, for instance,
announced in 2018 that it was
ending production of cars in
North America, save for its
venerable Mustang nameplate, and is instead investing
in its crossover and F-series
pickups. Stoneley said that
would pay dividends for Ford
as consumer preferences
shift.
"There will be some floor
where there will be a market for cars, but I see it being
much less than 25 per cent" of
the market, he said.
Then there are brands
such as Volkswagen, which
have traditionally relied on
small cars to drive sales.
While it is investing in its
crossover lineup, it is still a
car-heavy brand. In 2019, cars
accounted for 59.2 per cent of
VW's deliveries in Canada.
VW car sales declined 1.5
per cent from a year earlier,
outperforming the market as
a whole. Meanwhile, lighttruck sales, largely consisting
of the Atlas and Tiguan crossovers, dipped 7.9 per cent.
"The overall car market has declined, but it's far
from gone," said Patrick
Danielson, VW Canada director of product planning.
"As other competitors
leave, we're able to maintain
our position and maintain
our volume. We just take a
bigger percentage of a shrinking share."
Cyril Dimitris, Toyota
Canada vice-president of
sales and marketing, said the
introduction of new cross-

More brands abandon monthly
sales reporting in January
The Detroit
Three and the
Germany-based
automakers opt out,
creating a cloudy
market picture
By JEREMY SINEK

TORONTO CORRESPONDENT

Even though Nissan Canada's car sales fell 36 per cent in
2019, company President Steve Milette, left, says he remains
bullish on the segment. Milette is picture with Marc-Andre
Nault, vice-president of sales, and the redesigned Sentra at
the Montreal Auto Show in January. P H O T O : N I S S A N C A N A D A

overs and SUVs exacerbates
the shift, as consumers simply have fewer car options to
choose from than they have
in the past.
"The degree of shift has
started to plateau a little bit,
but there are several new
entries coming into that
space that I think will continue to cause people to shift
out of cars into those smaller
SUVs," he said.

COMMITTED TO CARS
Nissan Canada, meanwhile, showed no sign of
backing away from the segment, even as its car sales
plunged 36 per cent in 2019
to 24,196 units. Its redesigned
Sentra was one of the vehicles it showed off during the
Montreal show's press day,
and it hopes the eighth-generation sedan can win

Canadian buyers over with
its sleek design and new technology. Sentra sales were
down 39 per cent in 2019.
Nissan Canada President
Steve Milette pinned the
plunge in car sales on the
company cutting back on
fleet deliveries while focusing
on growing retail sales. He
said the company was "pretty close" to achieving its goal,
with rental sales down about
30 per cent.
"As much as the numbers
that we release every month
were down on a calendar year
basis, the mix and the quality of our sales was better,"
he said. "We have opportunity on the pure retail side of
the business. We probably left
business on the table in 2019,
and we certainly don't want
to leave business on the table
in 2020." - ANC

THE MONTHLY-SALES-NEWS
blackout that began with GM
Canada in late 2018 is expanding in 2020 as more automakers
switch to quarterly reporting.
The absentees in January
reporting included the Detroit
Three and the Germany-based
brands.
The confirmed combined
sales of car companies represent only about 48 per cent of
estimated total sales.
Among the confirmed sales
results, two things stood out:
the Korea-based brands are
on a tear; and Canadian buyers are embracing today's new
breed of subcompact utilities,
some of which don't even offer
all-wheel drive.
Hyundai sales spiked 12.8
per cent in January, and Kia's
by 14 per cent. In Hyundai's
case, sharply higher light-truck
sales offset a car-sales decline;
at Kia, both categories grew
similarly, and with an almost
exact 50/50 split between cars
and trucks.
Kia's car strength rested
mainly on the back of Forte
and Soul sales. Hyundai's truck
performance was bolstered
by new SUV nameplates -
the mini-compact Venue (456
sold in January) and midsize
Palisade (430) - and the growing popularity of the subcompact Kona (up 36 per cent).
Subaru Canada achieved a
5.7-per-cent gain that propelled
it to a January record, and its
top seller was its smallest CUV,
the Crosstrek. Mitsubishi similarly claimed a January record
on the basis of a 1.6-per-cent

uptick, led by 65-per-cent higher sales of the small Eclipse
Cross.
Volvo sales edged up 0.9 per
cent and Mazda's by 0.3 per
cent. Mazda received a boost
from the new CX-30 small crossover, which scored 351 sales in
its debut month. It didn't significantly affect the smaller
CX-3 (up five per cent) or the
slightly bigger CX-5 (down two
per cent). However, sales of the
Mazda3 took a 32-per-cent dive.
Nissan Canada sales dipped
8.4 per cent, this despite gains
for its biggest-volume models. The Rogue was up 15.8 per
cent and Kicks jumped a whopping 154 per cent. Offsetting
that, Sentra sales plummeted
51 per cent and the absence of
the now-discontinued Versa
Note left a 365-unit hole in
Nissan's total compared with
last January. Nissan has been
clearing out inventory of the
2019 Sentra in preparation for
the all-new model arriving in
February.
For Toyota Canada Inc.,
higher Lexus sales were overwhelmed by declining Toyota
volume, leaving the company
3.8 per cent in arrears overall.
January-record hybrid sales
were hit by a 75-per-cent plunge
in sales of the Sienna. Toyota
usually sells about 1,000 copies
of the minivan in January: this
year, 359.
Perhaps some Sienna prospects chose the Highlander
instead. The new 2020 midsize
utility vehicle went on sale in
January and sales spiked 55 per
cent.
Honda Canada total sales
fell 10.5 per cent: 9.9 per cent
for Honda and 18 per cent for
Acura. The Civic remained the
top-selling car, but was handsomely outsold by the Toyota
RAV4.
A recent report by
Scotiabank Economist Rebekah
Young predicted a further modest sales decline in full-year
2020, to 1.91 million units from
last year's 1.92 million.
- ANC

Special space gives a reason to hang out at the dealership
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PA GE

declined 3.6 per cent in 2019.
"Sales are down more so than the
total industry because there aren't as
many truck and SUVs models for luxury buyers to choose from," said Robert
Karwel, J.D. Power's senior manager of
Automotive Practice in Canada.
"All of those trucks and SUVs provided some additional buoyancy to the
mainstream market, which the luxury
industry did not have as much of, or in
the case of pickup trucks none at all. ...
Luxury would have fared a bit better
if it had a few more utility-body-style
nameplates out there in '19."
Inviting customers into a space
without the pressure of making a sale
is crucial to remaining competitive in
today's evolving retail business model,
Winegard said.
"In the automotive category, we've
seen it's plagued with that used-car

salesman bad [reputation]," she said.
"The amount of time spent in a retail
space directly increases ... purchase
intent.
"It's not enough anymore in retail,
and especially in bricks-and-mortar
retail, to sell things. You have to have a
reason for people to show up.
"What brands are hoping for, especially in the automotive category, is
something we call consumer tribalization. ... You go to see and be seen and to
interact with your friends so that you
create a BMW tribe. ... You're borrowing from the brand's identity in order to
build your own identity."

PLACE TO WAIT, OR CELEBRATE
Although Policaro declined to disclose the upfront cost of building the
lounge, he said its maintenance costs
involve the salary of one full-time staff
member - "she is responsible to make
sure that [customers] get the most opti-

Dealer Principal Francesco
Policaro says the association with
Ferris Rafauli has brought in new
customers who are connected with
the designer. P H O T O : P O L I C A R O B M W

mal and premium experience," he said
- plus an estimated monthly cost of
$500 for consumables.
While some customers use the
lounge as a waiting area if they choose
to bring their vehicle in for service,
others have asked to hold meetings or
social events in the space, Policaro said.
The dealership also uses it as a space

for executing high-value purchase
agreements and for hosting dinners.
Policaro cited one customer who
purchased an i8 after going through a
life-changing experience.
"He decided after he almost passed
away that he wanted to buy this i8. It
was a special moment for him.
"We invited him to the lounge, and
he invited 30 of his closest friends and
family. We did a breakfast for him with
Champagne and orange juice and a
cake. So, it was a different kind of experience, and then we did the unveiling
during the delivery."
The lounge, Policaro said, is generating loyalty as well as repeat and referral business.
"When you provide an optimal experience, they come back, and they refer a
lot of people, too. We've got a lot of great
responses from customers and referrals
from it. It seems to be working quite
well." - ANC



Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F29
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F30
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F31
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F32
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