DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. says new vehicle sales defied affordability headwinds to rise an estimated 20 per cent in October compared with last year.

The climb in October marks 12 consecutive months of sales gains, including similarly strong gains the previous two months, as inventory levels improve.

DesRosiers estimates that light vehicle sales for the month totalled 145,957 units.

While up notably from last year, the total is still well off the close to 160,000 vehicles sold in the month in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew King, managing partner at the consultancy, said that pent-up demand and improved vehicle availability have helped overcome challenges like high interest rates and stagnant economic growth.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales came in at 1.79 million for the month, the highest since January. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2023.