J. HERBERT HODGINS October 1 1926


J. HERBERT HODGINS October 1 1926




WITHIN the memory of most of us in Canada, men drove down our main streets with a new fangled

contraption called an automobile.

In excited moments—from sheer force of habit—desiring to come to a full stop they yelled “Whoa!”

To-day in Canada we are approaching the moment when we will count one million of these automobiles. In other words, the time is not far distant when there will be one motor vehicle for every nine persons in the Dominion, as there now is one motor vehicle for every five persons in the United States.

How soon will Canada register its first million motor vehicles? With a total registration of 728,005 as shown by the federal figures for 1925, we are well on our way here in the Dominion to our first million cars. But expert opinion differs somewhat as to the actual time when we will arrive at that first million. The general manager of at least one automobile manufacturing concern is disposed to forecast one million registry for Canada by the end of 1927. Another says that he cannot foresee one million cars for several ■years. Still another—and a low priced car manufacturer at that—declines to prophesy; says there are too many contingencies to be considered.

The following table will serve to illustrate the steady, upward trend of the growth of the motor industry and the accompanying growth of the total registration of motor vehicles in Canada over an extended period:—

Total Registration Incr. Over Motor Vehicles Previous Year % Gain 69,547 18,987 37.5

89,934 20,387 29.3

123,464 33,530 37.3

197,779 74,315 60.2

277,578 79,799 40.3

336,806 59,228 21.3

415,268 78,462 ' 23.2

463,848 48,580 11.7

514,657 50,809 10.9

585,079 70,422 13.6

650,231 65,152 11.1

728,005 77,774 11.9

Automobile Development

THE development of the automobile industry in Canada—measured as it inevitably is by its concomitant automobile registration—may suffer occasional setback from legislators and from general business conditions, but nothing seems capable of entirely crippling its healthy progress'. “With any luck at all,” the editor of Canadian Automotive Trade reasons in a current issue, “the close of 1927 should see practically all those millions cars and trucks on the highways and byways of the Dominion.”

The Dominion statistician shows a total of 728,005 vehicles at the end of last year. Now, on the top of that, records are being broken in 1926. During the first seven months of this year the accumulative automobile production in Canada of 140,086 units was thirty-three per cent, above the 105,687 units made during the same period of 1925. The value of the cars made, based on selling price f.o.b. plant, was about $17,000,000 over selling value of the cars produced in the first seven months of last year. This year’s domestic output to the end of July included 50,339 open passenger cars, 58,272 closed passenger cars, 18,011 trucks, 13,360 chassis and 104 taxicabs or buses.

Supplementing domestic production figures are the motor car imports. For instance, motor car imports for July amounted to 3,022, which with the production of 15,208 made a total supply of














18,230 available for use in Canada. However, as 4,158 were expected during the same month the apparent consumption was 14,072, as against 9,402 in the corresponding month of last year, F or the year, to the end of July, the apparent consumption was 116,721 as compared with 74,657 units during the first seven months of 1925.

What are the actual prospects for further absorption in Canada?

Opinions differ, but I find that most men in the industry and in the retail automobile trade are inclined to be cheerful. Lower prices have unquestionably accelerated sales and while the domestic output has been greater as a consequence, Ottawa’s recent tariff tinkering has had the effect of stimulating the importation of American built cars. This will be evidenced from a comparison of the following figures regarding importations:—

No. of Cars January ... February March ....


’ 1926 1925

691 482

916 594

2,170 1,209

2,539 1,513

5,384 1,912

4,904 1,618

3,022 1,646

19,626 8.974

Accelerated Selling

DOMESTIC manufacturers of automobiles have speeded operations ever since lower prices went into effect about the first of May. A statement was made at a dinner in Toronto at the end of August that the Ford Motor Company of Canada had produced so far this year 3,000 more cars than were produced in Canada during the whole of last year. Such a straw must surely indicate the trend of motor car consumption by the public.

Undeniably the selling end of the automobile business for the first six months of 1926 has been strong. Further business depends very largely upon the western crops. In other words, what the farmer has to spend after the harvest will largely determine the further increase in 1926 registration. Estimates of the crop are anywhere from as good as last year— that is to say some 400,000,000 bushels of wheat, to well over 300,000,000 for this year. Early indications point strongly to the fact that another $1,000,000,000 will go into pockets of Canadian farmers this year from their general farm outturn. As a matter of fact the general economic outlook throughout Western Canada is so measurably improved over previous years that business men find ample justification for a spirit of optimism. Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor, general manager of the Bank of Montreal, returned to Montreal the other day from an extended trip throughout the West in a more optimistic frame of mind regarding that part of Canada than he has been in for many years. Sir Frederick is never prone to undue optimism but the interview given out following his return to Montreal constituted probably his most hopeful post-war statement regarding the outlook for business.

So we may reasonably look for healthy selling absorption of more motor cars, bringing that day measurably nearer when the one millionth car will have been registered in this country, thus marking a new era in modern transportation. There is already reasonable indication that the increase for 1926 will exceed 100,000 cars, bringing the grand total of Canadian registration to at least 850,000 motor

vehicles. “And that is getting within striking distance of the first million!” as your enthusiast will tell you.

How shall we meet the problem of 1,000,000? Undeniably 1,000,000 cars or one for every nine persons in the country, will aggravate traffic problems, already acute in most Canadian communities. Evidently the most important step which federal, provincial and municipal authorities must take will be the proper direction of traffic and parking facilities, including automotive street signs, one way streets and boulevards through cities, an increase of speed on highways and increased width of main highways. There will be a continual demand, too, for the development of existing and new highway systems, the cost of which, no doubt, will be met chiefly by taxation of motor vehicle owners by license fee and gasoline impost, as this revenue producing method has become increasingly popular with our provincial governments in recent years.