Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 4, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Canadian auto sales up five per cent in June
By Steve Erwin
TORONTO — Canada’s new-vehi-cle market continued to speed uphill in June, with sales improving five per cent over the same month a year ago, according to figures released yesterday by the automakers.
More than 166,000 vehicles were sold to Canadian consumers in June, improv
ing over last year’s sales of 158,200 for the month, say figures compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Reports.
It was the ninth month in a row of year-over-year sales improvement in Canada’s automotive marketplace, spurred by steep incentives such as nointerest financing, introduced after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The continued strength in the market has prompted analysts to predict
Canadian sales will hit a record this year, beating last year’s all-time high of 1.57 million vehicles.
Sales for the first six months of this year total 875,318 vehicles, an increase of 10.2 per cent over the first half of 2001.
The June improvement came despite a slide at General Motors, the market leader. GM Canada moved 44,800 cars and light trucks, including minivans and
sport-utility vehicles, 6.1 per cent below year-ago sales.
GM Canada noted that its year-to-date sales stand at over 261,000 vehicles — more than 120,000 above its closest competitor, Ford.
“Our current sales are IO per cent ahead of last year’s and we still have high hopes that 2002 could be our best year in the past decade,” stated Marc Comeau, GM Canada’s vice-president
Comeau called the June decline “a bit of a breather,” adding that GM expects that a new incentive program will drive its sales forward. GM has launched a “Canada-Wide Clearance” offer of zero per cent purchase financing.
DaimlerChrysler sales rose 9.1 per cent to 26,037, while Ford’s were up 6.3 per cent to 30,142.
Vehicle sales in U.S. dip 1.5 per cent in June
DETROIT — An expected skid in U.S. vehicle sales was muted in June, as automakers reported sales down only 1.5 per cent compared with June 2001.
Strong truck sales and solid sales by General Motors and foreign automakers helped maintain the industry’s momentum.
“There is still attractive pricing, higher consumer income, easy financing, low rates and a general expansion of the economy,” observed Burnham Securities analyst David Healy.
Of the Big Three domestic automakers, GM was the only one to report a sales increase last month with a 4.3 per cent improvement over June 2001.
Sales fell 10.5 per cent at Ford, not including its foreign brands, and declined four per cent at the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG, the automakers reported Tuesday.
GM’s sales hike was powered by strong sales of its sport-utility vehicles and Cadillacs, said Paul Ballew, executive director for market and industry analysis at the world’s largest automaker.
GM sales were down 2.3 per cent for the first six months of the year compared with the first half of 2001.
Sales at Ford, the second-largest automaker, were down 10.7 per cent for the first half.
Ford’s redesigned Expedition had its best monthly sales in a year in June. Its Jaguar unit reported its lith straight record month as sales soared by 63 per cent.
Despite the overall sales decline at Chrysler, there were record sales of the PT Cruiser, and strong promotion-fuelled sales of minivans.
All three U.S. automakers launched new marketing programs Tuesday that offer a choice of no-interest financing or cash rebates on many models, ostensibly to help clear out remaining 2002 model-year vehicles.
— Associated Press
EXHAUST • Chrome &
Emissions measure puts all eyes on Calif, governor
By Jim WASSERMAN
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Right in the middle of his re-election campaign, Gov. Gray Davis must decide whether to sign a California bill that would make the largest auto market in the United States the first to limit tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide.
The freshman Democrat is under intense pressure to veto the bill from 14 of the world’s largest automakers, the United Auto Workers Union, oil companies, farm organizations and much of the state’s business establishment. These groups are making the most noise after failing to kill the legislation before it could arrive on the governor’s desk.
Davis is being urged to sign the bill by large American environmental groups, much of the state’s congressional delegation, its largest cities and Hollywood celebrities from Robert Redford to Cameron Diaz.
The governor has called the bill “good public policy” but wants to study it further. A spokesman said Davis’ decision was expected within two weeks.
The bill, passed Monday by a single vote in the state Assembly, would force automakers to reduce non-toxic carbon dioxide emissions from light trucks and cars beginning in 2009.
Environmentalists say it is one of the most significant measures to address climate problems in a generation.
Automakers are calling the bill a backdoor assault that will drive up vehicle prices and limit the variety of cars companies can build. They say it will hurt attempts to boost fuel mileage.
Manufacturers also fear that the idea, if unchecked, could eventually force them to build cars and trucks tailored to individual state emissions standards.
“We will encourage the governor the veto the bill,” said Kris Kiser, director of state affairs for the 13-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “If a lawsuit is viable, we’ll look at that. If a referendum is a viable option, we’ll look at that.”
“This battle is far from over,” he said, speaking for American, European and Japanese carmakers.
Environmental groups warned that a veto could cost Davis in his election campaign against Republican business
man Bill Simon.
“I think people would be deeply disappointed and his efforts to get environmental support for his re-election would be badly damaged,” said Carl Zichella, western regional staff director for the Sierra Club.
California, with 35 million people, is the biggest auto market in the United States, accounting for IO per cent of all American sales.
For years, California has been ahead of the U.S. government in air pollution standards and it is the only state with a Clear Air Act exemption that allows it
adopt air pollution standards that are stricter than Washington’s. Other states are given the option of adopting either the federal standards or California’s more stringent ones.
California has long forced carmakers to limit poisonous and polluting emissions, though the bill is the first to target emissions of a natural “greenhouse gas” environmentalists say accounts for 60 per cent of the state’s contribution to global warming.
Overall, experts say the United States is responsible for nearly one-quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions.
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