Record Year for Canadian Auto Sales

Figures released Wednesday showed that Canadian auto sales hit record highs in 2016 because of consumer demand for pickups and SUVs, despite ending the year on a weaker note that could continue this year.

Automakers sold around 1.95 million units in Canada last year, up about 3% from another record year, 2015, auto analysts wrote in notes to clients.

They added that December sales in Canada declined around 3% on an annual basis because of weaker demand for cars.

But after three years of increasing Canadian auto sales, analysts do not expect another record in 2017 as manufacturers raise prices due to the comparative weakness of the Canadian dollar, which closed Wednesday at $1.3308, or 75.14 U.S. cents.

Ford Motor Co , the top seller in Canada, said 2016 was its best year for Canadian sales since 1989, largely because of demand for its F-Series pickups. The automaker said in a statement it sold 304,618 vehicles in Canada in 2016, up 9.4% in 2015.

General Motors delivered 267,341 vehicles in 2016, up 1.5% from the previous year, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 4% decline in sales last year from 2015.

Toyota said its Canadian sales rose 4.2% in 2016 to 217,792 vehicles, driven by higher sales of trucks, along with luxury and hybrid cars.

Analysts had said they expected auto manufacturers overall would set another Canadian market record in 2016, with sales rising to around 1.96 million vehicles from 1.90 million units in 2015.

In December, Canadian auto sales declined 2.6%t, on an annual basis, to 125,600 units