By on June 11, 2013

Canadian Auto Sales

(Editor’s note: Despite being a close neighbor, ally, and NAFTA  member, Canada usually receives short shrift when it comes to the counting of cars. TTAC is a prime offender. We cover sales in Europe, Japan, China, and of course America – but Canada? Our resident car counter Cain will now cover the Canadian market on a monthly basis. Any volunteers for Mexico?)

For the second time in what was predicted to be yet another year of growth for the Canadian auto industry, volume grew significantly in May 2013. January volume was down 2%. By the end of February, the market was off 2012’s pace by 3%. March’s decline wasn’t as bad, but through the first quarter, sales were still down 2%. After April’s 9% increase, auto sales in May reached their highest level in six years.


Ford, Canada’s leading manufacturer, sold more vehicles in May than in any month since 1997. Buoyed by record Ford F-Series sales, Ford Canada outsold Chrysler’s five brands by more than 3000 units.

Another truck sales record was set by the Ram Pickup, the second best-selling vehicle line in Canada. Just under three out of every ten Chrysler Group sales came from the Ram during Chrysler’s best sales month since 1971.

In all, 16 different brands, including soon-to-be-defunct Suzuki, posted year-over-year sales declines in May. The worst of May’s decreases were recorded by Smart, Lincoln, Mini, Volvo, Suzuki, and BMW, all of which have also sold fewer vehicles in the first five months of 2013 than during the same period a year earlier.

20 brands reported year-over-year sales increases. Boosted by the FR-S, which was responsible for 41% of Scion volume, Toyota’s sub-brand boasted of a 63% jump in Canadian sales in May, the best improvement of any brand. Cadillac, Jaguar, Porsche, Subaru, Acura, Honda, and Ram all reported gains better than 20%.

As the Canadian auto market grew 5.4% in May, passenger car sales made gains of just 2%. Car volume is down 1% through five months. Pickup truck sales grew 9% as 13 nameplates accounted for 17% of the industry’s volume. A year ago, 15 truck nameplates accounted for 16% of the market.

14% of the vehicles sold in the United States in May were pickup trucks. And while Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram attracted 83% of truck buyers in the U.S., that figure rose to 92% in Canada last month. May’s U.S. new vehicle market was nearly eight times the size of Canada’s, but America’s truck market was just six times the size of the Canadian truck market.


Excluding the Sprinter van, Mercedes-Benz was outsold by BMW for luxury brand leadership. The six-unit margin was quite clearly slim. So far this year, Mercedes-Benz is just 149 units ahead of BMW. Although they go without it in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz markets the B-Class in Canada. With 1255 sales through five months, the B-Class is responsible for a larger portion of Mercedes-Benz Canada’s volume than the E-Class and CLS-Class combined. The B250’s base price is $7400 lower than the base price of Benz’s C250.

While America’s five best-selling cars in May were midsize sedans, the best-selling midsize car in Canada ranked eighth among cars, as is normally the case. May was the fourth time in 2013 that the Hyundai Elantra topped the leaderboard as Canada’s best-selling car. Its year-to-date lead over the Honda Civic now stands at 332 units. The only brand which has sold more cars than Hyundai this year has been Toyota, and Toyota’s car lead is only 804-units strong. Combined, Hyundai and Kia’s cars have outsold the cars of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion by 13,472 units through five months.

Despite the Elantra’s leadership, Hyundai-Kia’s market share has fallen from 12.8% in the first five months of 2013 to 12.1% this year. Ford MoCo, Chrysler Canada, and General Motors have combined to grow their share of the Canadian market from 44.8% last year to 45.9% in 2013. As a trio, the automakers formerly known as the Big Three have sold 15,000 more vehicles in 2013 than they did in the first five months of 2012, helped in large part by 11,000 extra pickup truck sales.

Miss the full table for Canada? Here it is?

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.

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10 Comments on “Canada In May 2013: Picking Up The Pace...”

  • avatar
    Point Given

    Nissan continues to tumble as well. We are aiming for 8% market share but I see we are down to 4.5%. Just not getting it done with the current vehicle lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW, my wife and I test-drove the Altima and Rogue about 7 months ago. Both vehicles epitomized bland & boring, categories which I understand Honda and Toyota own in the marketplace.

      The Kias were a lot more fun to drive.

  • avatar

    Some thoughts for the group:

    – Here in Vancouver, BC gasoline is hovering around $1.45/litre… that folks works out to ‘$1.45 x 3.78 = $5.48/gallon’… $5.48 a metric gallon!!!!
    – Across the border in Blaine, Washington (a 5 minute drive from White Rock, BC) the gasoline is $4.09/gallon…

    A difference of 35% in gasoline price AND Canada is #6 in global crude oil production standing at 3,592,000 barrels per day…. WTF????

    Secondly, I would love to see a statistic on the per-capita sales distribution of Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Land Rover, and Porsche in Vancouver, BC versus the rest of the world… I would surmise the “Lower Mainland” is in the upper echelon in sales of these vehicle types….

    On a recent trip to Whistler, BC, I counted:
    – 3-5 Lamborghini Aventadors
    – 2 McLaren MP4’s
    – 5+ Ferrari 458 Italia’s
    – 10+ Gallardo’s
    – Porsche 911’s were being given away free

    Quite amazing but also very normal

    • 0 avatar

      Checking in from a couple hours’ drive east, the other end of the Lower Mainland:
      Exotics are not so common, but large, fully loaded pickups are very common status indicators among the upper middle. Lower middle? Small car for you!
      Our gas is “only” $1.35 – no GVRD tax. The closest American town is Sumas, WA, where gas is at $3.80.

      Whistler is one of the most expensive places in North America, so I hope nobody reads the presence of exotics there as being common in the rest of Canada.

  • avatar

    In Edmonton I see 2.5L Nissan Altimas all over teh place, being driven by asshats generally. Rogues too, everywhere. Hyundais are ubiquitous, I think that’s the right word for them being like every third car. Every second car is a F-150, adn there are 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks all over.

    Lots of new and newer vehicles. Gas is $1.22/litre for regular, premium is $1.35-ish, diesel is in the middle. The roads are awful. The junkyards are full of late-90’s/early 00’s everythings, except the import section wehre the only things newer than 00 are Lancers usually.

    • 0 avatar

      @ deliverator. I have a close relative in the scrap buisness. He is located in a rural area of Ontario. If an import comes in, its picked down to the carcass in a matter of days. The carcass gets thrown on the pile,with zero salvageable parts.

  • avatar

    Here on the north shore of lake Ontario, I can see the U.S.A. on a nice day. If it wasn’t for the 36 miles of water,I’d go over to fill up. Gas at Costco is 1.18 = 4.46 a U.S. gallon.

    Around here, the full size truck GM, Ford, and Ram in all thier configuration’s are the most common new vehicle seen.

    I find it shocking. Even heavily discounted, when you include all the taxes,and dealer B.S. your kicking the crap out of 50K. A Tahoe, or a Yukon? Make that 60K plus. Housing is certainly not cheap around here. A hundred dollars doesn’t go too far in the grocery store. Its not like we Canucks enjoy low taxes. I just don’t know where folks are finding the money. Credit cards, low interst loans,who knows?

    On a positive note. I’m glad people are buying them. Truck sales make good profit for GM. Whats good for GM, is good for my pension.

    Let the good times roll!

    • 0 avatar

      Us Canadians are known as typically being….um….”thrifty”…with our spending. So that, along with gas prices that are 30% higher than the US, makes Canadians love compact cars. But it does shock me how many trucks are sold here. Just goes to show that although we constantly bitch about gas prices up here, we’re still more than willing to pay the premium to drive what we want (myself included)!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    You wouldn’t know that BMW was having any kind of sales decline by the way the company’s prices have gone up. I suppose that’s the way it should be…

  • avatar

    “Here in Vancouver, BC gasoline is hovering around $1.45/litre… that folks works out to ‘$1.45 x 3.78 = $5.48/gallon’… $5.48 a metric gallon!!!!”

    BC has a carbon tax on gasoline – and it’s going up again on July 1st.

    Happy Motoring…….Suckers!

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