By on September 20, 2013


Barring the unforeseen, 2013 will end as the fourth consecutive year of improved auto sales in Canada and one of the best years on record for total industry volume. After a first quarter in which Canadian sales slid 2%, volume has increased in each of the last five months.

Much of that rough first quarter can be blamed on General Motors, the Korean pair of brands, and Toyota Canada. GM has recovered decently over the summer, however, and as a quartet of brands is now up 2.7% through the first eight months of 2013. Cadillac and Buick fueled August’s narrow 0.1% improvement.

Toyota’s spring and summer resurgence owes much to Lexus, which rose 31% and 10%, respectively, in July and August. (Lexus is a minor player in Canada, with just half the market share in August that the Toyota premium division held in the U.S. last month.)

Hyundai and Kia present a slightly different story. Kia has yet to report a year-over-year Canadian sales increase during any month in 2013. The Rondo’s surge hasn’t made up for the losses experienced by the Forte during its replacement phase. Hyundai sales are up 1.7% in 2013 as sales in July and August increased 6.3%.

Canada’s two largest automobile manufacturers, Ford Motor Company and the Chrysler Group, reported disparate August results. Although FoMoCo volume is up a little less than 1% through eight months, August sales slid 1.2%. Lincoln plays a part in this decline – sales fell 24.4% last month. But August results also revealed an 8.2% decline in F-Series sales. The F-Series is still on pace for a record year, and even in August it was responsible for 6.8% of the market’s overall total.

Meanwhile at Chrysler, the group’s namesake brand rose 65% with a big boost in Town & Country sales. The Dodge brand slid by 503 units but is up this year. Ram sales are booming, Jeep sales are stagnant (having fallen 15.2% in August) and Fiat rose 12.8% despite a 16.5% drop in 500 sales. 220 500Ls were sold in August; 446 over its three-month tenure.

Subaru and Honda continue to post impressive Canadian improvements in 2013. With its expanded lineup, Subaru sales are rose 24.6% in August; 20.8% year-to-date. The Forester generates three in ten Subaru sales. The XV Crosstrek outsold the Outback in July and August.

The Honda brand’s 20.5% August improvement (up 10.5% YTD) translates to 2471 extra sales. Civic volume jumped by 1428 units. Accord sales jumped by 529 units, a 71% increase. Passenger cars accounted for two-thirds of Honda brand sales in August. Industry-wide, cars generate 45% of Canadian sales.

Honda’s all-conquering Civic is getting close to securing its crown as Canada’s best-selling car for the sixteenth-consecutive year. Its lead over the Hyundai Elantra has grown to 2546 units. The Elantra last led the Civic at the halfway point.

In August, the Civic also ended the month as Canada’s second-best-selling vehicle overall, outperforming the Ram pickup for the first time this year. Only in March has any vehicle other than the Ford Escape been Canada’s favourite SUV or crossover. Its lead over the Honda CR-V stands at 6874 units through eight months.

Canada’s top sellers receive an inordinately large amount of attention from consumers. In the U.S., a quarter of the market’s volume comes from the ten best-selling vehicles. In Canada, the ten top sellers account for fully one-third of the market.

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21 Comments on “Canada Sales: August 2013 Recap...”

  • avatar

    I see four full size pickups and a van in the top ten, with compacts filling the other five slots. There isn’t a Fusion, Accord or Camry in the top ten. Is Canada really a vast wasteland for midsized cars, or has the plethora of midsize offerings fragmented the field?

    • 0 avatar

      Probably both, but keep in mind that the US is the home of the midsized sedan. I’m guessing that they’re much harder to be found in virtually every other market in the world. Specially, but not only, in the 3rd world, Corollas and Focuses fill those shoes.

    • 0 avatar

      The fact that a “stripper” Accord is over $29k after taxes, and a similar Camry is only a hair under $29k probably factors into it as well. With our higher gas prices, most Canadians will go for a more efficient vehicle, but have a van or truck for hauling duty. It may be different in the larger cities, but in my part of the country, this is true.

      Oh, and the reason Rams are selling well is because they are cheaper than the competition. Our local dealer is even throwing in a free ATV or snowmobile (let the stereotypes begin) when you buy one. That’s on top of factory incentives as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Canada’s best-selling midsize car, the Fusion, is Canada’s eighth-best-selling car overall. (The Accord and Camry rank 10th and 11th this year.) Honda sells 2.7 Civics for every Fusion. Canada’s 14 leading compacts (which doesn’t come close to taking into account all small cars but does account for much of Canada’s small car volume) outsell Canada’s 14 core midsize nameplates 2.7-to-1, as well.

    • 0 avatar

      It also has a lot to do with people believing that a larger vehicle (i.e. truck/SUV) is safer in Canadian winter. So, they will buy truck/SUV when they can afford it, or compacts if they can’t.

  • avatar

    Ram is Canada’s longest lasting truck

  • avatar

    I’d be very interested to see a breakdown of these numbers by province. I think that would tell a different story. Quebec has always been *much* more small car friendly than the rest of the country (my experience is that the Maritimes are heading in the same direction), while the Prairie provinces are obviously responsible for much of the truck buying. Here in southern Ontario (non-Greater Toronto Area), I’d hazard that the most popular new cars are, in no particular order:

    – Fusion
    – Impala or Malibu
    – Escape
    – Civic
    – Sonata
    – CR-V
    – Grand Caravan or Journey
    – Ford and GM pick-ups x 10000
    – Equinox / Terrain

    The market in this part of the world is biased to large trucks and CUVs (sound familiar?), with midsize and compact sedans also making a strong showing. In metro Toronto, however, it’s a different story. I lived downtown for four years, and I swear every other car is either a 3 Series, some Audi (typically an A4/S4, Q5, or Q7), or an Infiniti G3x. Canadians as a whole obviously have a penchant for smaller (cheaper) cars, but I do think Quebec really throws the numbers out of whack. We don’t all drive Elantras!

    • 0 avatar

      In Alberta, it’s not unusual to be stopped at a red light and be completely surrounded by one-ton quad cabs. Driving from Calgary to Edmonton this week, the most common vehicle on the road was the white company 4×4 with a lift-kit. Here in Edmonton, among new vehicles the split seems to be Truck/German Luxury/MId-size SUV.

  • avatar

    Around toronto, the only time I see a camry is when I see a taxi. I can count on one hand the number of new model accords i’ve seen. I think in some months the 3 series out sells the accord nation-wide, and it definately does around here! Chrysler sells purely on cost – a minivan under $20K versus $30K for toyota or honda, a midsize car at $16K versus $26K for toyota and honda. If the typical american family has a midsize car and an SUV, the typical canadian family has a compact car and a minivan (with a compact CUV becoming much more likely recently). Quebeckers actually buy the stripper compact cars, which are decontented down to having AC optional. Mazdas are twice as popular here versus the u.s., while lexus is half as popular. VW is much more popular as well.

  • avatar

    I live west of Toronto, own a Grand Caravan and Civic, I drink Molson Canadian and Carling, I rely on duct tape when necessary, I play and watch hockey, and generally I feel I am a better person than people from other countries. I am Canadian (for real).

  • avatar

    Here in Vancouver it seems like the update in 2013 Civics is continuing, but maybe not quite as fast as the 2012. Hard to tell with the Elantra’s; the body refresh with the Civic’s gives the impression of forward sales momentum on the streets, whereas most Elantra’s look like most other Elantras. Low tier Civic’s seems to have a built-in market here considering how few 2013 Fit’s seem to make it to the street, it’s like Honda isn’t in the mood to sell them until they switch to the next gen.

  • avatar

    It does appear that Canadians prefer small cars and full sized pickups. I don’t live in a big city but when ever I’ve been in Vancouver, I do see a large number of compacts. 1/2 tons are all over the place and it is no surprise that trucks rank in the top 10. Ford F Series decline is no surprise. They need a remake which is coming for the F150 as a 2015 MY so the end of summer next year we will see them. The Super Duty is also long in the tooth. Ram has picked up ground at Ford’s expense. The 6.0 PowerStroke hurt their reputation. I used to see mostly GM/Chev pickups and Ford pickups with Ram pulling up the rear but now Ram and Ford (just like sales stats) are the dominant pickups.
    I do agree that sales have been driven by discounts and promotions. Lately it has been Ram with the big discounts especially in the HD ranks. “Free Cummins” has been an ongoing promotion. I suspect that Ram will have to offer deep discounts to sell off “old” models with the 6 speed. GMC has been offering some big discounts now that the 2014’s are out.
    We still have cheap interest rates so that probably contributes to sales. Fuel prices have been relatively stable which helps sell pickups.

  • avatar

    It’s all about value. Is it worth the money? Will it perform well for the money? Will it impress the neighbours for the money? (that’s pretty Toronto centric) Will the fuel mileage improve for the money?
    You can see on the chart where we place things.

    GM is looking increasingly lame. I’m shocked on their redesign of the trucks. It doesn’t look any different that the truck it replaced. Bad move. We’ll see how that plays out.

    • 0 avatar

      @Dimwit – pickups have become huge lifestyle accessories due to heir versatility. I guess that there are people who are interested in “impressing the neighbours” regardless of where you live. I actually like the looks of the 2014 GMC/Silverado trucks. The Silverado looks are wearing thin for me because each time I see one I have 1980’s flashbacks. The 2014 Sierra is a logical progression of the looks of the GMT900 Sierra. GMC definitely lost their mojo with the GMT800’s and 900’s.

  • avatar

    I don’t know why this site only thinks people buy everything to ‘impress’ people. Trucks offer a ton of utility in Canada. They can carry people or stuff – in all weather conditions (with the AWD) and they have good ground clearance and can do decently off-road. And they cost less then many cars. They can tow things – which is something that a lot of people want to do..

    Most people who are spending a huge chunk of money on a vehicle honestly like what the vehicle can do for them. They would buy it even if it DIDN’T impress people. Trucks actually don’t impress a ton of people – but truck drivers don’t always care. Because you know maybe they want to tow their boat to the Lake..

  • avatar

    LOC sales cause they haven’t had the Great Canadian real estate correction yet. Downtown Toronto is a giant construction zone with more condos going up than any other city in the world. The mayor’s a crack head. Are you laughing America?

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