By on May 6, 2013

Ford F-150 Gets an All New Powertrain Lineup for 2011
Canadians registered just under 172,000 new vehicles in April, more than in any April since 2008. Through the first quarter of 2013, auto sales in Canada were down 1.9%. Imports, by which we mean non-Detroit brands, were suffering the most. Including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, and Kia, nine Asian brands had posted year-over-year declines at the end of March.

April is a much bigger month for auto sales in Canada, however, as we’ve all exited our hibernation caves and developed an alarming degree of excitement about the soon-coming month of summer. We need new cars to drive from our igloos to the beach. Consequently, by the end of April, a month in which Canadian auto sales increased 8.9%, the year-to-date change measured 1.4% on the plus side.

And how? Light truck sales, which includes everything from pickups to SUVs and minivans, grew 16% compared with April 2012. Passenger car volume was up just 1% and formed 44.9% of the overall market’s volume, down from 48.4% a year ago. In Toyota Canada showrooms, for example, where overall volume was up 7.2%, car sales fell 1.9%. Honda passenger car sales grew 11.5%, but with strong CR-V and Pilot growth, light truck sales jumped 27%. Nissan car sales fell 1.3%; Nissan light truck sales rose 50.5%.

April was clearly a much improved month for import nameplates, including Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Nevertheless, through the first quarter, the biggest headlines continue to be created by Detroit’s increased influence in Canada. Cadillac, Ram, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Dodge have all reported year-over-year increases through four months. Collectively, Ford Motor Company, the Chrysler Group, and General Motors have posted a 5.2% increase this year. They’re now accounting for 45.9% of the industry’s volume in Canada, up from 44.3% in the same period of 2012.

Most surprising is the fact that they’re producing a healthy amount of the increased volume with cars. At Chrysler’s three car-selling brands, sales are up 13% in 2013. Light trucks at Dodge, Ram, and Jeep are up just 2.3%. In April, General Motors light truck volume grew 18.9%, yet car sales rose 22.5%. At Ford, where 6217 extra F-Series sales (in just four months) have helped push trucks and utilities and commercial vans up 8.3%, car sales have risen 6.3% thanks to a strong push from Canada’s best-selling midsize car, the Fusion.

Much attention has been paid this year to the Hyundai Elantra’s status as Canada’s best-selling car. Its significant two-month lead nearly disappeared in March but then grew slightly, to 161 units, by the end of April. But as much as Canadians prefer small cars over midsize cars, Canadians also love pickup trucks, especially deeply discounted pickup trucks. Despite the market’s stagnation, the loss of the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota – 2634 units between the pair at this point in 2012 – and the near disappearance of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon – only 120 units between the pair in 2013 – truck sales are up 9.9% in 2013, having risen 21.9% in April.

Automobile sales north of the border represent just 10% of Canada/U.S. sales volume, but 13% of Canada/U.S. truck sales occur in Canada.

Also: Fiat 500 sales have plunged in Canada this year, but the 500 is still outselling the whole Mini brand by 884 units through four months. With the new RDX selling very well and the MDX surging, Acura is only 723 units back of Audi for third place in premium brand standings. They’re both well back of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The Chevrolet Trax, which Americans can’t buy, at least not in America, outsold the Chevrolet Malibu by four units in April. 8% of the Porsches sold in Canada were Caymans, up from 0% in March. On a year-over-year basis, Volkswagen Jetta sales rose for the ninth consecutive month in April. Subaru sold more vehicles than in any month in the company’s Canadian history, helped no doubt by the fact that the company markets more nameplates than ever before, but also by the Forester’s best month ever. 45% of the Scions sold in April were of the FR-S variety, as the volume achieved by all four of Scion’s other models declined.

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12 Comments on “Canada In April 2013: Detroit’s Push Makes Use Of Trucks And Cars...”

  • avatar

    “Imports, by which we mean non-Detroit brands, were suffering the most.”

    Does Canada have its own auto manufacturing companies who build vehicles for the Canadian domestic market? I vaguely recall reading something about Asuna, but seem to remember this being a General Motors venture within Canada.

  • avatar

    I have a Canadian Honda. It’s funny to think that a car made there, for years their best seller, would be an import while a Mexican-made, Ram-branded, Fiat would be considered a domestic Canadian car. There’s something wrong with that logic. The auto unions turn a lot of people into liars, although I realize that the reporting here is just an example of playing by their rules. Honest people don’t have to play with the definition of words to enforce their ideas on others. It’s a pretty good indicator that something abhorrent is occurring.

    • 0 avatar

      Ram is still Chrysler and most of their trucks are made in the US. What are you going to say when FIAT becomes an American company?

      Funny unions turn people into liars. What’s Romney’s and Ryan’s excuses?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven a Canadian-built Ford. It would be considered domestic, while a Kentucky-built Camry or a South Carolina-built BMW would not. This problem exists everywhere. But I’m not sure what it has to do with unions, exactly.

      By the way, which Ram 1500s are made in the US? I know that the higher payload ones (2500/3500), and I believe the Mega Cab, are Mexico.

      • 0 avatar

        All Ram 1500s are made in Warren Michigan.

        I would consider any vehicle made in the NAFTA regions a “domestic” vehicle due to the trade synergies created that benefit all 3 nations. It depends how insular you want to be.

        The country of origin of the manufacturer that builds said domestic car is another story, if that matters to you.

      • 0 avatar


        This certainly applies to the US. Were it just Canada, I probably wouldn’t even know. American built BMWs and Hondas are called imports while Korean Buicks and Mexican Dodges are called domestics. Even better, Chrysler is a subsidiary of a foreign corporation. The only metric left for determining domestic v. import is whether or not a company’s US labor force is organized. It isn’t corporate ownership. It isn’t where products are developed. It isn’t where they are produced. If you’re paying organized crime, you get domestic status.

        • 0 avatar

          So you’re saying it’s not based on the origins of the brand?

          The Euro manufacturers have always done the same thing. Mercedes has built cars in Austria, but they’re still referred to as “German” cars. Audi builds in Slovakia, Spain, and has built in Austria. Those cars are still considered “German” too.

          And of course, several manufacturers build in China for China or India for India, but they’re also considered foreign marques.

  • avatar

    I got to hand it to the Canadians, you folks really get hammered on auto pricing. If I had to pay what you folks pay I’d probably have purchased a third less vehicles. Peace.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound


      Toyota Canada should splain why it costs $1,900 to ship a new Lexus the 12-miles from the Cambridge Ontario factory to Kitchener Ontario, but only $875 to ship it the 2,500-miles to Los Angeles California. Do you suppose the U.S. transporter driver found a shortcut?

      • 0 avatar

        Within the US, it’s because “destination” charges are averaged across the fleet within the country. So someone in California or Florida pays the same destination for a Honda Accord as someone in Ohio. I assume it’s the same for Canada — there’s a Canada-wide destination charge, so people in Vancouver and PEI pay the same as Ontario. I wouldn’t be surprised if that destination charge is higher in Canada due to western Canada being even less populated than the western US, but historically, Canadians have always paid a lot more for cars.

        I believe in some cases Hawaii or Alaska could have a higher destination charge, but some of that is also dealers screwing people. For example, it’s routine to charge above MSRP in Hawaii due to the captive audience. Dealers will try to scare you by saying you will pay higher sales tax if the car is brought from another state, but it’s much cheaper to ship the car yourself from out-of-state than buy from a Hawaii dealer in many cases (I’ve heard of 25% markups or more in some cases). Some dealer service departments in Hawaii will also lie and say that they won’t service out-of-state cars, but a quick call to the head office in the US should fix that if they give you trouble.

        The bigger scam is PDI.

  • avatar

    As rust proofing method’s get more, and more, advanced,you are going to see us keep our cars longer.

    Last winter my buddy was looking for a new Silverado. The dealers had rows, and rows, of them..January and February are supposed to be slow months. Nobody wanted to make a deal.

    My buddy ended up with a babied 2011 on a private sale.25000 KLMS and it had three documated Rust Check sprays
    The seller couldn’t get close to his price on a trade in.
    Yes, our market up here is completly different.

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