New Motor Vehicle Sales Survey (Monthly) (NMVS)

Detailed information for January 2017





Record number:


This survey collects data on monthly retail sales (in dollars and in units) of new motor vehicles sold in Canada.

Data release - Scheduled for March 14, 2017


This survey collects data on monthly retail sales (in dollars and in units) of new motor vehicles sold in Canada.

The interest in and need for detailed statistics on the automobile industry arose when the industry began playing a prominent role in the Canadian economy. For over 50 years, Statistics Canada has been collecting and disseminating statistical information on the retail sales of new motor vehicles. Not only are these statistics required to produce estimates of Canadian consumer spending for inclusion in the national accounts and the gross domestic product, but they have also served and continue to serve as one of the most important, most often requested indicators of the health of Canada's economy.

Over time, estimates of the total retail sales volume of new motor vehicles were not sufficient to meet the incessant demand for more information. There came an increasing need for data on the characteristics of the fleet of new vehicles sold at retail, either to learn more about the preferences of Canadian consumers or to assess the penetration of the Canadian market by major foreign manufacturers. Statistics on new motor vehicle sales were expanded in the early 1970s to provide separate figures for Japanese vehicle sales.

Statistical activity

The survey is administered as part of the Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP). The IBSP program has been designed to integrate approximately 200 separate business surveys into a single master survey program. The IBSP aims at collecting industry and product detail at the provincial level while minimizing overlap between different survey questionnaires. The redesigned business survey questionnaires have a consistent look, structure and content. The integrated approach makes reporting easier for firms operating in different industries because they can provide similar information for each branch operation. This way they avoid having to respond to questionnaires that differ for each industry in terms of format, wording and even concepts. The combined results produce more coherent and accurate statistics on the economy.

Reference period: Month

Collection period: During the month following the reference month.


  • Retail and wholesale
  • Retail sales by type of product
  • Retail sales by type of store
  • Transportation
  • Transportation by road

Data sources and methodology

Target population

This survey is a census of all motor vehicle manufacturers and importers known to be active in Canada.

Instrument design

This questionnaire is comprised of variables compiled by automobile manufacturers based on consolidated totals from their dealers' monthly reports on sales of new motor vehicles. The items on the questionnaire have remained unchanged for several years. However, more detailed questions have been added to provide greater information on trucks sold within Canada. The questionnaire was developed in consultation with potential respondents, data users and questionnaire design specialists.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Sampling Unit: Establishments

There are approximately 3,600 new car dealers in Canada. For this reason, it would be too costly and time consuming to collect the data from individual dealers across the country. Instead, Canadian automobile manufacturers (for North American produced vehicles), as well as importers of vehicles manufactured overseas, complete this survey. The respondents provide consolidated totals of their dealers' monthly reports on sales of new motor vehicles. These figures do not include new and "nearly new" vehicles imported by persons during trips to the United States and by brokers and domestic vehicle dealers for resale in Canada. In 2009, Statistics Canada estimated from administrative sources that the number of new and nearly new vehicles imported by persons, brokers and dealers was approximately 1% of total new motor vehicle sales in Canada.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The Statistics Canada head office is responsible for the mail-out, collection and initial follow-up of the new motor vehicle survey. If required, additional follow-up with respondents may be done by analysts at the head office. When new dealers or manufacturers enter the country, their head office is contacted in advance and is requested to complete the survey once they begin to sell new automobiles in Canada.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

There are edits built into the data capture application to check the entered data for unusual values, as well as to check for logical inconsistencies. Whenever an edit fails, the interviewer is prompted to correct the information (with the help of the respondent when necessary). For most edit failures the interviewer has the ability to override the edit failure if necessary.

Once the data have been captured, an extensive series of processing steps are undertaken to thoroughly verify each record received. Edits are performed at an aggregate level (e.g., by province or by comparison with data from POLK Canada publications) to detect records which deviate from the expected, either by exhibiting large month-to-month change, or differing significantly from the remaining companies. All data failing these edits are subject to manual inspection and possible corrective action.


Normally, the response rate is 100%. If required, imputation of missing values or records is normally based on historical data, or data from the New Motor Vehicle Manufactures Association.


This methodology type does not apply to this survey.

Quality evaluation

Prior to dissemination, combined survey results are analyzed for comparability; in general, this includes a detailed review of individual responses, general economic conditions, and historical trends.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Confidentiality analysis includes the detection of possible direct disclosure, which occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of a few respondents or when the cell is dominated by a few companies.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Raw data are revised, on a monthly basis for the month immediately prior to the current reference month being published. That is, when data for December are being published for the first time, there will also be revisions, if necessary, to the raw data for November. In addition, revisions are made once a year, with the release of the February data for the first time, for all months in the previous years. The purpose is to correct any significant problems that have been found that apply for an extended period. The actual period of revision depends on the nature of the problem identified, but rarely exceeds three years.

Data accuracy

All attempts have been made to minimize the non-sampling errors: the questionnaires used in the survey have been carefully designed to minimize different interpretations; detailed acceptance testing has been carried out for the different stages of editing and processing.

Response rate is generally 100%. As such, results usually don't suffer from any bias resulting from cases of non-response.


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