By on February 9, 2012

Not content with being the best selling compact car and third best selling passenger car in the United States, the Honda Civic is not only Canada’s best selling car for 2012, but it absolutely crushed the competition – outselling the #2 Hyundai Elantra and #3 Toyota Corolla combined.

Both of those cars mustered only 4736 units, while the Civic sold 4928 units – and that’s without the year-end blowout lease specials where Honda offered a $0 down, 48 month lease at 0.9 percent interest, allowing punters to walk away with a Civic LX sedan for $199 a month. Of the top 10 cars offered for sale, 9 were compacts, with the Toyota Camry being the sole mid-sized offering. Let’s see what happens when the Elantra GT and Elantra Coupe go on sale – as it is now, 20 percent of Elantra’s sold are Elantra Touring models.

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68 Comments on “Honda Civic Continues Its Unstoppable Death March Towards Canadian Sales Dominance...”


  • avatar
    jellybean

    Being a Canadian, I can tell you that Honda owners are incredibly loyal, almost to a fault. What the car looks like is almost irrelevant.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    They don’t get Consumer Reports in the Great White North.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      They get Phil Edmonston’s Lemon-Aid car guides, which continue to report on problems with the products of car companies that have supposedly made miracle turn arounds in the US.

  • avatar
    86er

    Technically, the F-Series is the “Unstoppable…Sales Dominance…?”, uh, top seller in Canada but the Honda Cult is indeed strong with my fellow countrymen.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    As you noted during the GM Death Watch, it takes a long time for reputations to rise and fall. We gave the domestics plenty of chances – some people didn’t quit until going through 20 years of bad experiences. So if the new Civic is indeed mediocre, the effects might not be noticeable for another decade.

    Is it that bad though? The last Civic was excellent compared to most of the competition, so if it stood still it might still rank pretty highly.

    • 0 avatar
      supersleuth

      And if I were planning on driving a car for 200,000 miles- which is exactly what I do with my cars- I would (and do) still have a rational preference for Honda over Hyundai until I see how the current Hyundais hold up when they get there. (Ditto for Chevy- and I really like the Cruze Eco- or Ford.)

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      The new Hondas are not badly built like domestics from the 70s and 80s, which rusted and fell apart faster than they ran. The Civic’s sin is being being behind in quality of materials (hard plastic interior parts) and technical details (such as gdi engines and 6 speed automatics). Their sins are much more fixable than Detroit’s, but, they must be fixed, and soon.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        GDI is one of the technologies about whose 200K-mile reliability I am currently in watchful waiting mode.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        super – I wonder how many people said that about fuel injection? GDI has been around for some time. I would think it is becoming mainstream because the technology has been developed enough that it is not any less reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        When FE first hit the mass market, there was good reason to wait and see. (Ironically given the subject of this thread, Honda was an especially late adopter.)

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Right but by the time it went mainstream it was more reliable and efficient than a carburetor. We’re just finally seeing GDI go mainstream, not the first implementation of it.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        Well, we’ll see. With the potential for carbon deposit problems (and no proof that that issue has really been completely solved), and the need for expensive high-pressure fuel pumps and lines, I’m still not yet convinced that, say, the average Focus’s mechanicals will be as trouble-free at 200K as the average Civic’s. But by the time I need to replace my Fit, there’ll be a lot more data which will hopefully prove you right.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        “I’m still not yet convinced that, say, the average Focus’s mechanicals will be as trouble-free at 200K as the average Civic’s”

        True but has that ever been the case? Probably won’t be when they both have GDI…

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        “When FE first hit the mass market, there was good reason to wait and see.”

        Like the 1950′s when Mercedes started using it? A clue the E in old Mercedes model names like 280 SE meant einspritzen, which is German for injection.

        Diesels have used direct injection forever. I hear very few complaints about their longevity.

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        Any data out there that supports newer Hondas go 200k trouble-free miles?
        My 2003 Honda needed new tranny at 88K, and all the suspension linkages were worn out by 125k.
        And little things like instrument panel lights burning out, drivers seat rocking back and forth an inch due to worn bushings, rattles, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Strafer – but was the engine still going strong? Lol

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        When I saw that the new Elantra GT is going to have a non-GDI 1.8L with a timing chain, it got much higher on my list.

      • 0 avatar
        Norma

        @Robert,
        “Diesels have used direct injection forever.”

        What was the ‘first’ time you heard of carbon deposit problems in ‘diesel’ direct injection engines?

  • avatar
    AGR

    Perhaps there is a touch of “sales management/administration” on the part of Honda…some Dec 2011 deliveries possibly migrated to Jan 2012.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Canadians don’t shop around, apparently. And the biggest fault of loyal buyers is that they don’t realize a product is crap compared to the competition until it becomes below acceptable. The Civic will never be below acceptable, just mediocre. And for loyal buyers who just want the same brand and model car every 5 years, that’s enough.

    This analogy also applies to the swill Canadians refer to as “beer.”

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Is that like Budweiser or Bud Light?

    • 0 avatar
      jellybean

      No, we don’t really shop around, too busy repairing our igloos from global warming. Seriously, here on the west coast Hondas and Toyotas sell like hotcakes. When we find a good thing, we stick to it for 20 years. Personally, I think the redesign of the new Civic sucks, but it’s because the previous design was so perfect. There’s no where to go but backwards. Oh, and check your dictionary, under ‘swill’, you’ll see a photo of a six pack of American beer. Zing.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      >This analogy also applies to the swill Canadians refer to as “beer.”

      That’s a troll post if I ever saw one. We’ve always admired you Americans for your audacity.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        Well, there is ONE good, in fact outstanding Canadian brewer- Unibroue in Quebec. But south of the border we have Stone, Dogfish Head, Ommegang, Great Lakes… the list goes on and on.

        (Yes, I’m trolling- I know you guys have other craft brewers.)

      • 0 avatar
        Turkina

        Go to Southwest Ontario… In fact, head to Guelph, avoid the Sleeman Brewery, and point thy car towards Kitchner-Waterloo. Many quality libations in the area.

        /not Canadian

        “supersleuth
        February 9th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        Well, there is ONE good, in fact outstanding Canadian brewer- Unibroue in Quebec. But south of the border we have Stone, Dogfish Head, Ommegang, Great Lakes… the list goes on and on.

        (Yes, I’m trolling- I know you guys have other craft brewers.)

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      While most mainstream Canadian beer is pretty bland, as beer goes, it’s still tastes a hell of a lot more like real beer in the historical sense of the term than most of the mainstream, beer-flavored liquid made south of the border (all craft brewers excepted, of course).

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @FJ60LandCruiser…….HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! “Swill” as compared to what?

      Miller,Shlitz, Old Millwacki..Water that taste something like beer?

      I am deeply insulted, perhaps we won’t send you anymore of our “dirty oil”

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        One of my crazy habits when traveling is to tour breweries/distilleries/wineries if I have time and anyone will let me in. I have been in quite a few in a bunch of different countries and the big American breweries are second to none.

        They are producing the Camry of beers – boring and watered down, but the “build quality” would put Lexus to shame. Their cost structure doesn’t allow them to produce anything unless the sales can be measured in the millions of barrels, but that’s a good thing. They leave room for the small guy – who makes the stuff I prefer.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        All right, all right. Take it easy. We need that “dirty oil” as it is the main flavor ingredient in Budweiser.

        Dogfish Head 60 minute…FTW.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        As I age, I like beer, but in order to keep off the weight, it’s usually “silver bullets” i.e. Coors Light – now THAT’S gen-u-ine water!

        Ying-yang beer is pretty good along with Sam Adams, but I limit my intake of those for the reason above. Besides, my doctor’s order is red wine – seriously!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Tree

      Old Canadian saying:

      Q: What do making love in a canoe & American beer have in common?

      A: They’re both fuc**ing close to water

      I love our friends to the south, but why do some of you seem compelled to attack your friends to the north – haven’t you figured it out yet that the world is a lonely, dangerous place without friends?

    • 0 avatar
      FJ60LandCruiser

      cigar city, fat tire, sierra nevada, shipyard, harpoon, dogfish head just to name a few.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    It has almost become a guarantee that whatever car critics pan will sell in much larger numbers than it did previously. Critics have panned the redesigned Outback and it’s sales have been better than ever. The inverse is also true. Critics loved the Ford Flex and sales of the Flex have been terrible.

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    What supersleuth said…

    and,

    Up here in the hot/cold salt-roaded north, 10-15 year old Hondas with no visible rust are not rare.

    Any 10-15 year old Nissan or Mazda on the road at all is unusual.

    Korean cars? No one knows yet. But older ones gone. Kaput.

    That’s why Hondas sell well in Canada.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s true that older Korean cars were trash, although not uniformly so. I remember the old KIA Sportage, the worst or the worst. I would rather drive Daihatsu Rocky. But supposedly the “new” cars (after the KIA-Hundai Siamese Surgery) became much better.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    >Up here in the hot/cold salt-roaded north, 10-15 year old Hondas with no visible rust are not rare.

    17 years for me, no rust. But then again, I’m out west. I still think back to how hard the closer guy tried to sell me on rust protection It’s a wonder that the practice still exists given all the evidence to the contrary.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah… The later model Honda stuff does battle rust well. Here in Ontario and the Maritimes, Mazda and Nissan,and the early Koreans are rust buckets. GM W cars lose thier rockers. Ford F Trucks….?….well you got to go with rust proofing.

    Even the Hondas….you got at least go with oil spraying. $1500 is the cost of replacing fuel, and brake lines on a six year old Civic….ouch!

    The doors and quarters are rusting on the early retro Mustangs. My 08 convert is drenched in oil and sleeps the winter away in the garage.

    BTW I end with a lot of oil on my garage floor in the spring. I’m willing to scrape it up and send it to
    the American beer brewers,it can only improve the taste of the beer.

  • avatar
    gosteelerz

    Can we go back to the beer thread hijack, was quite enjoying it while having a Tankhouse Ale.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Speaking of rust, I recently saw a blue/silver F-150, I’m thinking a 2001?, owned by someone in the military and its rockers were rather holey, and that same day, another car, I forget what now, but silver and the ENTIRE lower rocker area was full of rust, obviously both had been where salt was used and both were, I think post 2000 models too.

    I’m fortunate I live where rust isn’t an issue so any 10-15 YO vehicle, even Mazdas tend to stay rust free if they’ve been out here all or most of their lives.

  • avatar
    geo

    I’ve talked to several Honda salesmen who have informed me, “Hey, it’s a Honda!” Nothing irritates me more than this mantra. When one of the salesmen went on to tell me that “Hondas run forever”, I told him that I know several people with one, two, or three blown Honda automatic transmissions. I didn’t tell him that all of these people still think their Honda’s are wonderful, and act as if a tranny replacement is as natural as a tire change. Honda’s more of a cult than a car company.

    I won’t go into their now-standard ugliness, something people don’t seem to mind either (because hey, it’s a Honda!). Honda and Starbucks have a lot in common. Both companies have been able to brainwash millions of people into thinking that cheap and mediocre is actually upscale. If Starbucks and their burnt, bitter coffee were branded as McDonald’s, people would scoff at the cheap crap they were trying to pass off to consumers. It’s not hard to imagine the reaction if the Civic were branded as domestic. And I don’t care if you knew somebody who got 400,000 miles on his 1994 manual Civic, gave it to a buddy, who drove it another 100,000, and it’s still running today.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “It’s not hard to imagine the reaction if the Civic were branded as domestic.”

      Oh come on, not the perception gap crap again.

      I still remember clearly how the 2001 MY all new Civic was regarded as being uncompetitive in the class, because I bought a 2002 one. Now looking back after ten years, that Civic, along with the Corolla were class leading, and will be in the future.

      A 2002 Civic has no problem of fetching much more resale than the highly hyped 2004 Cobalt today. It’s like day and night, I don’t even need to ask for the mileage or conditions to make that prediction. Same with the new Civic, it will make the Cruze look like total garbage at the 10 year mark.

      But of course certain Americans can never understand this, because of their short attention span. They don’t build stuff that last, but ironically they blame the Chinese for that same mentality. Blame the TV networks’ commerical frequency instead, please.

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        Thanks for proving my point. People think crappy old Hondas are gold, and pay a premium for them. A friend just bought a decade old CRV for a high price, because “it’s a Honda”. Did I mention he’s had nothing but problems with it? I know someone who just paid ten grand for a 2001 Odyssey (“it has a new tranny” he said). Do people pay these ridiculous prices because Hondas are so good? Come on, now. It’s branding and brainwashing. People are programmed to think this crap is worth so much, to the point that they don’t care about mileage. One seller didn’t even bother putting oil in the Honda he was selling. I asked “do you even take care of this thing?”. What do you think he responded with? Hint: the response had the words “it’s” and “Honda” in it. Newsflash: the 2001 Honda Civic was not that great. At all.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        A 10 year old Honda Civic may have its problems, but a 10 year old Chevy Cavalier would have even more problems (if it still exists at all).

        Buyers are wise to choose to pay more for a 10 year old Honda than a 10 year old Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      More a cult than a car company… That sounds like Jeep more than Honda. Seriously, people buy so many Hondas because they are all brainwashed fools? LOL, them grapes must taste mighty sour, yes sir.

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        How else could Jeep sell so many Dodge Calibers? Marketing and perception is key, not reality.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Jeep attracts a certain kind of customer, but I wouldn’t call it a cult. A niche, maybe. I have owned many USED Jeep vehicles over the decades, and first and foremost on my mind always was that legendary 4X4 system.

        Now that we bought a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit V6 4X4 for the wife we can see for ourselves the influence that Daimler put into the styling, interior, suspension and engine. It’s pretty darn good stuff! Best ever for Jeep. But not cheap by any standard. Not even the niche standard.

        Imagine paying nearly 50-grand for a Jeep. But that’s what they are going for these days if you go for all the toys. And try $64K and up for the SRT8 JGC. Yet people stand in line for them. Go figure.

        Honda makes great cars for normal people. Those with illusions of grandeur choose an Acura. Just plain old loyalty to Honda if they had a good ownership experience. Ditto with Toyota. And most owners have a great experience with Honda, and Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Desertcat…
        I’m glad you like your Jeep. You speak highly of it often. But it is not a badge engineered version of a MB. Sure, it may have some MB underpinnings, but please give credit where credit is due. MB and Chrysler got divorced in 2007. MB is about as responsible for the quality of your Jeeps interior as I am.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    Good chuckles all around from my fellow sheeple, er, Canadians. Remember, in Iaccoca’s first book, he refers to Honda as the Teflon car company because ‘bad news doesn’t stick.’
    My first full time job right out of highschool was driving a Chevy van all over Toronto for an auto parts jobber. I got to see the real underbelly of the peak of the malaise era from the guys who were working on those shining examples of post-EPA, post Nader, post Iranian hostage crisis world.
    Let me just say that for a kid who grew up with all the glory and variety Detroit had to offer in the ’60s (my first sort-of car was a ’57 Plymouth – Christine herself that my father dragged home from his tire service station in King City), the disappointment and gloom I felt with each year’s offerings as the ’70s waned and the ’80s dawned became overwhelming.
    Nothing Japan Inc washed up on these shores impressed me. Least of all the first generation Civic. I rented a ’79 Datsun 210 that could not even pass a dumptruck on hwy 11 near North Bay.
    I witnessed many, many 7 or 8 year old, mechanically fit imports going to the wreckers because their bodies were absolutely rotten through. It doesn’t matter one bit how good the drivetrain may or may not be, if the body is absolute garbage. However, the overbearing influence the California-based automotive press have wielded over this issue is disgusting.
    Almost 1 million ’73 thru ’79 Civics were recalled to receive significant retrofits or outright replacement by a NHTSA edict. Where do we hear about this every time a ‘Worst 10 Cars Ever Built’ list gets dragged out?
    The Civic’s vaunted reputation was earned because of its clever engine designs and its initial acceptance in California where rust is never an issue. Union loyalty is not the only reason the ‘fly-over states’ continue to have higher ownership of Detroit vehicles than imports.
    Honda had 15 years to get it right before anyone noticed. It’s pretty easy to impress a 19 year old kid who just got out of his mother’s gas swilling, whale-inspired LTD or Impala V8 with 145 hp and 18 mpg.
    As for Canada today. Well, Ontario has elected McGuinty not once, but twice. Five women in my office and they ALL drive ‘imports.’ Three Corollas, one Mazda 3 and a Civic. As you might imagine, on long quiet days, I love to stir up controversy and, believe me, these CR-clutching modern women don’t know the front of a vehicle from the back. The Mazda disciple (who loves to bitch about her ’87 Ford and what a POS that was), even challenged me when I told her that Honda and Toyota’s sales COMBINED barely equalled GM’s in Canada. She was of the learned opinion that Honda outsold GM, both in Canada and the world. Number one selling is as far as she gets in any ad or PR campaign, apparently.
    Even if I didn’t have many reasons for a Civic never to grace my driveway, being just another silver (or white) small Civic in a mall parking lot would just be depressing.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “Five women in my office and they ALL drive ‘imports.’ ”

      –FYI, Canada hasn’t had a domestic brand for many years. (And no, American brands are not domestic, because I wouldn’t call it domesitc if I need a passport to go to the US of A.)

      “She was of the learned opinion that Honda outsold GM, both in Canada and the world.”

      –She isn’t too far from the truth. It’s not her fault that, in NA, GM doesn’t brag much the quantity of Chinese WuLings they sell each year. A female office worker probably has no interest in pickup trucks. As far as passenger cars and light SUVs are concerned (i.e. Civic/CRV), Honda is pretty much at the top in NA.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Most newer designed modern cars can easily go 200K miles. I see cars with this mileage all the time. It’s hard to believe people still think that only a Honda can do this. Hell I know two guys at work that are still running 2003 and 2004 Cavaliers both with over 200K that are equipped with GM’s excellent little 2.2 liter Ecotec and 4T40 transmission. The cars themeselves are showing signs of age but they are both reliable and still running well.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    All this talk about how X car is crap and Y car is golden and people being referred to as sheeple because they prefer X for whatever reason always gets to me. Why can’t we just let people like or buy whatever they want to buy without having their motives challenged?

    I thought it was a good thing that a person can’t be compelled to buy one car over the other because somebody said so. If people have had good experiences in one car what is wrong with them buying another, even if it’s not necessarily the best in class for power, mileage, or any number of metrics.

    The constant carping about people exercising their right to choose whichever car suits them, for whatever reason (perceived reliability, quality, mileage, ease of ownership), gets very old. If you don’t want the car, don’t buy it, but stop trying to say that people are stupid or misinformed because they don’t buy into your worldview. After all a car is…wait for it…just a car.

  • avatar
    KimJongJefferson

    apart from enthusiasts, most ppl just want something from point A to B, or Reliability.

    perceptions of reliability go along way. … even if it’s on the way out.

  • avatar

    My first theory is that Americans feel guilty of winning WWII and dropping A-bombs on Japan and destroying German cities and realizing that Germans and Japanese are superior to Americans.

    Second theory is that all European who got no taste or are capable of enjoying cars like Honda or beer like Bud – immigrated to America.


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