Source: The Canadian Press

The number of new motor vehicles sold in Canada declined for a second straight month in April, falling 4.7% to 125,792, according to seasonally adjusted data compiled by Statistics Canada.

The agency placed much of the blame for April’s decrease on lower sales of passenger cars, which fell 9.5% from March to 57,639.

“Canadian vehicle sales have lost momentum. After an initial surge that kicked in over the spring of 2009 through to late summer, pent-up demand from the peak of the (global economic) crisis period appears to have been released,” Derek Holt, vice-president of economics at Scotia Capital, said in a commentary.

“The sales trend since last fall has been largely sideways, within a volatile and wide range, and sales over the past two months have been disappointing.”

Scotia Capital said April’s decline was slightly less than the industry consensus, which called for a 5% drop month over month.

Overseas-built passenger cars accounted for most of April’s drop, falling 15.7%, while sales of North American-built passenger cars were down only 4%.

Sales of trucks — which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses — decreased 0.2% to 68,153. Truck sales have exceeded passenger car sales for the past five months.

Statistics Canada said sales were down in all provinces. An 8.5% sales decrease in Quebec had the largest impact on the national total, while sales in Ontario fell 4%.

Meanwhile, preliminary industry data indicated sales were flat in May.

While light vehicle sales numbers are released by the industry immediately following the end of the month, Statistics Canada compiles seasonally adjusted numbers and releases them later.

The industry’s non-adjusted numbers for May indicated that Canadian light vehicle sales edged up 0.2% compared with a year earlier amid weak results from some major automakers, including Toyota and General Motors.