TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Production by Canada’s Japanese-brand auto manufacturers topped 1 million light duty vehicles for the second year in a row, according to figures released this week by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada (JAMA Canada). Total output of 1,009,203 units represents an estimated 46 per cent of total Canadian light vehicle production for 2017.

Overall, 2017 was the fourth consecutive year of record sales for JAMA Canada members, as light duty vehicle sales rose 5.8 per cent to 719,807 units. As combined Japanese-brand sales outperformed the market, Japanese-brand share rose to 35.3 per cent for the year. Several JAMA Canada members achieved new sales records in 2017, including: Hino Motors Canada (medium duty trucks), Honda Canada, Mitsubishi Motor Sales Canada, Nissan Canada, Subaru Canada and Toyota Canada.

Since 1986, Japanese automakers have invested more than $12 billion to create vehicle manufacturing and assembly plants. In addition, there are over 60 Japanese auto parts plants now operating in Canada. Canada has been a net exporter of Japanese-brand vehicles since 1993, with over 4.7 million net vehicle exports. In 2017, Canada exported four times the number of Japanese-brand vehicles imported from Japan.

“Japanese automakers and Canadians have built a strong partnership together for more than 50 years,” said Larry Hutchinson, Chairman, JAMA Canada & President, Toyota Canada. “JAMA Canada members are committed to continuing to deepen and grow that partnership through ongoing investment in vehicle and parts manufacturing, distribution, sales and service infrastructure, and employment growth.”

A 2017 study by Greig Mordue, PhD and Brendan Sweeney, PhD at McMaster University, estimates the Japanese-brand auto industry in Canada supports more than 200,000 jobs across Canada through direct, intermediate and spin-off employment. The study highlights consistent employment growth with over 85,000 Canadians directly employed in the Japanese-brand segment of Canada’s automotive industry, an increase of nearly 70 per cent over 2001. Between 2001 and 2016, employment growth in Japanese-brand and Japanese-owned automotive firms has greatly outpaced growth in the automotive industry itself, according to the study.

“Over the past 50 years, trade liberalization has brought significant benefits to Canadians and the auto industry in Canada,” said David Worts, Executive Director of JAMA Canada. “Further diversifying Canada’s trade with agreements like the CPTPP will offer expanded trade and business opportunities for Canadian exporters, while boosting competition domestically to bring Canadians greater choice and new innovations in vehicle safety, fuel efficiency, alternative power trains, and vehicle automation.”

Canada has now completed trade agreements with South Korea (CKFTA) and Europe (CETA). Vehicle imports from Korea are now duty-free, and EU imports will follow now that CETA is provisionally in force.

“Signing the CPTPP comprehensive trade agreement will maintain a level playing field on vehicle tariffs for the benefit of Canadian consumers,” said Worts. “This will allow for continued growth and development of the Japanese-brand auto industry in Canada.”

About JAMA Canada

JAMA Canada is a non-profit trade association representing subsidiaries of Japanese automakers in Canada, and was established in 1984 to promote greater understanding in trade and economic matters between Canada and Japan.

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