Bucking the wisdom of nearly every automotive journalist alive, Canadians opted for the much-maligned 2012 Honda Civic in 2012. 55,090 Civics were purchased by Canadians, making it the best selling passenger car for the 14th straight year.
According to our most recent data from Automotive News, as well as Honda Canada itself (with Automotive News tracking sales through November, 2011), the top 10 vehicles were all compacts, with the exception of the Toyota Camry. As of this writing, the Hyundai Elantra finished in second place, despite leading briefly earlier in the year. The prospect of a revised Civic for the 2013 model year wasn’t enough to put a damper on sales – or maybe people just weren’t interested.
In the run up to year’s end, Honda touted very aggressive lease deals, including zero down, 0.9 percent lease deals that made it possible to walk away with a Civic LX equipped with A/C and an automatic transmission for $215 per month for 48 months (including 13 percent sales tax). A quick peek at the Honda website now shows the lease rate back at 2.99 percent, suggesting these blowout deals were related to the drive to be Canada’s best selling car yet again.
On a broader scale, he strong performance of the Civic in Canada and the Volkswagen Jetta in both Canada and the United States reaffirms the notion that despite the massive criticism leveled at both cars, a given segment of consumers couldn’t care less about things like missing independent suspensions, or poor reviews from critics. Instead, a cheap price and a heuristically advanced notion of quality (“Volkswagen/Honda is a good make, isn’t it?”) can go much further than independent suspensions and dual clutch gearboxes when it comes to moving units. Being labeled a “flop” by Forbes or being stripped of its “recommended” rating by Consumer Reports seems to have done dick all for the Jetta and Civic respectively.