TORONTO — DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says Canadian auto sales dropped by 44 per cent in May, an improvement from the estimated 74.6-per cent decline in April when the COVID-19 outbreak first affected a full month of sales.
An estimated 113,224 new light vehicles were sold last month, up from 45,833 sold in April when sales were on par with the early 1950s.
Analyst Dennis DesRosiers says May’s decline evokes some cautious optimism as “the first tentative shoots of recovery spring up from a badly damaged marketplace.”
Sales dropped 48.3 per cent in March when widespread restrictions first went into place.
The three months easily eclipsed the previous record for a monthly drop of 27.7 per cent set in February 2009 amid the worst of the Great Recession.
The new light vehicle sales market may have begun the climb back to recovery as dealerships slowly reopened with reduced hours and appointment-only visits.
He says “a touch of optimism” for the coming weeks is warranted but the situation remains in flux and could still face additional challenges from the pandemic that forced a government-imposed lockdown.