Category: Canada

By on June 25, 2017

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With contributions by Sebastien Bell and Sam McEachern

Mechanics have made their last-minute checks, drivers circulate sur la piste managing tire and brake temperatures, engineers confirm strategies; cars stage on the starting grid, the dissonant cacophony of twenty 1.6-liter V6 hybrid Formula 1 engines spooling reverberates through the grandstands as five red lights illuminate sequentially…

Hosted on Montreal’s Île Notre-Dame since 1978, the Grand Prix Du Canada has always been a special place for the Formula 1 paddock. For decades, drivers have loved the city’s vibrating atmosphere and unbridled passion for the sport, but what they really love is the circuit’s proximity to a devilish downtown core drowning in alcohol and impeccably dressed women.

Why do you think we like it? Read More >

By on June 5, 2017

2017 Honda Civic hatchback & 1977 Honda Civic hatchback, Image: Honda CanadaCanadian auto sales surged to record levels in May 2017, surpassing the previous monthly record from April of last year by an 8-percent margin and topping 200,000 units for just the second time in history.

You know it’s going well when, in a virulently anti-car market, passenger car sales increase, year-over-year. And in the fifth month of 2017, car sales did indeed improve, growing 3 percent beyond May 2016 levels.

You know it’s truly going well when, in a market that had already seen pickup truck market share climb to 20 percent, pickup truck sales jumped 38 percent to form 22 percent of the industry’s volume.

And you know it’s going exceptionally well when, in the span of just one month, the relatively small Canadian market purchases and leases 217,000 new vehicles at significantly higher prices than in the past. Read More >

By on May 30, 2017

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The Nissan Leaf, which burst onto the scene in late 2010 as one of the first mass-market electric vehicles, hasn’t changed much since its introduction. Until very recently, driving range sat well below the three-figure mark. And as its technological edge dulled, the Leaf gained a reputation as one of the fastest-depreciating vehicles on the market.

If you find yourself living in a certain jurisdiction, Nissan and a mid-level government has now made a purchase of a used Leaf far more attractive than it once was. Message to the U.S. and the rest of Canada: Quebec wants your old Leafs. Read More >

By on May 26, 2017

2016 Nissan Micra - Image: Nissan CanadaNissan Canada has once again confirmed to TTAC that the next-generation Nissan Micra, already on sale in some global markets, is not destined for Canada.

The existing Nissan Micra arrived in Canada in 2014, some four years after Nissan first introduced the fourth-generation Micra elsewhere. Micra production in Mexico has slowed somewhat in the early part of 2017, along with a slowdown of Versa production, as Nissan begins building the Juke-replacing Kicks at its Aguascalientes plant.

But when we asked Nissan Canada’s director of corporate communications, Didier Marsaud, whether the fourth-generation, Aguascalientes-sourced Micra will continue to be available to Nissan’s Canadian dealers, the response was definitive.

“Absolutely.” Read More >

By on May 8, 2017

CCS Charging pic

Plug ‘n Drive sounds like the world’s less appetizing fast food restaurant but is, in actuality, a not-for-profit organization with a strict focus on encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. It’s so committed, in fact, that it is opening a “Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre” near Toronto’s York University in order to provide the general populace free opportunities to pilot EVs.

Of course, you don’t just get to test drive electric vehicles — there is an agenda here. Plug ‘n Drive also wants to use the location as a base to educate people on how to get the most out of EV ownership, make a case for the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation, and explain government programs like Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. Think of it as an EV church, where the faithful can worship and and non-believers can be converted.  Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate – Image: Mercedes-Benz UK

News that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon would arrive in North America with a diesel powerplant and all-wheel drive caught many industry observers by pleasant surprise early last year.

But it’s been 15 months since Mercedes-Benz announced at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show that the C300d 4Matic would be sold in Canada, albeit not the United States.

Not a crossover, not tall, not be-cladded, not even remotely intended for mass consumption, the C-Class Wagon was destined to be a cult favourite — that’s right, favourite — in The Great White North. However, eight months after the announcement, there was still no C300d 4Matic wagon in Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian showrooms. Blame Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal for delaying the certification.

Yet TTAC was told just yesterday the C-Class Wagon will appear in Canadian showrooms later this summer with a, how do you say in the Canadianese… minor change, eh? Read More >

By on April 22, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf family, Image: Volkswagen of America

April has brought good news to diesel lovers and haters on both sides of the border.

After spending the winter (and the better part of last fall) jealously eyeing their southern neighbor’s buyback and compensation program, Canadian owners can now apply for that longed-for envelope of Volkswagen cash, as well as a one-way-ticket to hell for their emissions-rigged TDI model.

On Friday, the automaker settled court cases in Ontario and Quebec, paving the way for a 2.0-liter diesel settlement program that starts next week. The models involved are the same as in the U.S. — 105,000 units in all — and owners and lessees face similar choices as their American counterparts.

Unlike the recent shadowy roll-out of half-fixed 2015 models in the U.S., several Canadian dealers are proudly advertising the availability of “new” TDIs. Read More >

By on April 17, 2017

[Image: Jeffrey Smith/Flickr]

Canada’s oh-so-green federal government sure isn’t concerned about one form of air pollution — clouds of marijuana smoke. With the country’s cities already infused with the tell-tale odor of wacky tobaccy, legislation has been tabled to make possession of the drug legal, perhaps by as early as July 2018.

Great news for grass aficionados, but a troubling turn of events for road safety advocates. The jury’s out on whether Canada’s law would spark an uptick in drugged driving, but the proposed methods of testing — and convicting — weedy drivers has raised other concerns. One group has a problem with the Great Green North’s strategy to root out baked motorists. Read More >

By on April 17, 2017

tappen scrapyard

If you’re a god-tier automotive enthusiast looking for more vintage project cars than you could ever finish before your death (and don’t mind living in rural Canada), then we have good news for you. There’s a five-acre property for sale in picturesque southern British Columbia that’s perfectly suitable for ignoring while you wrench away on more than 340 classic cars that are included in the deal.

For $1.45 million, you can be the proud owner of a restoration shop, a sizable hangar, and enough steel to build five more on a property already zoned for auto salvage.

The land sits alongside B.C.’s White Post Auto Museum and is only a few minutes’ drive from Shuswap Lake — which is rumored to shelter a 25-foot prehistoric monster known as the ShuswaggiCryptozoologists believe the beast to be a surviving basilosaurus, meaning there could be an entire family of ancient whales for you to hunt when you aren’t organizing row after row of mid-century automobiles. If you aren’t into cryptid spotting, mentioning old Shuswaggi could also be a good way to haggle down the price.   Read More >

By on April 12, 2017

2017 Honda Civic hatchback - Image: Honda

Canadian passenger car sales are falling, not unpredictably, as SUVs and crossovers continue to earn an increasingly large chunk of market share.

And yet at the top of the passenger car leaderboard, Canada’s two best-selling cars are selling at a record pace, with no small amount of help from new hatchback body styles.

Bucking the Canadian, North American, and global anti-car trend most distinctly is the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years.

Indeed, so strong have Civic sales been through the first-quarter of 2017, we’re ready to make a projection. Make it a confirmation. We’ll say it with certainty. Honda Canada’s Civic streak will reach a full two decades, twenty years, as the Civic becomes Canada’s best-selling car in 2017.

The Civic’s lead is already insurmountable. Read More >

By on March 1, 2017

oldsmobile-ciera-coupe

A bill for the assembly of two decades-old models — one from a defunct marque — will come due on April 1. And unlike much of the debts written off during General Motors’ bankruptcy, a major subsidiary now has to pay this chunk back.

The money, $220 million in all, was handed to GM Canada back in 1987 to save the Montreal-area Sainte-Thérèse Assembly plant. GM Canada used that bankroll to build the stunningly sexy Chevrolet Celebrity and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It later cranked out the last Pontiac Firebirds and fourth-generation Chevrolet Camaros.

The thing about 30-year interest-free loans is that someone eventually comes to collect. Read More >

By on February 14, 2017

Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH, Image: By Michael Vadon (Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Since the inauguration of U.S. president Donald Trump, Canadian political and auto industry officials have taken every opportunity to highlight the economic prosperity and millions of jobs that depend on cross-border trade. And the lobbying seems to have paid off.

At a joint press conference following the first official meeting Monday between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the U.S. leader praised the economic ties between the two countries.

“We have a very outstanding relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it,” said Trump. “We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries.”

At the same time, he took a swipe at the trading relationship with Mexico, calling it “unfair to the United States.”

Read More >

By on January 26, 2017

Donald Trump

Consumer products and vehicles produced outside of the U.S. could see a big hike in sticker price if the Trump administration goes ahead with a proposed plan to tax Mexican goods — and eventually all foreign goods — to the tune of 20 percent.

The White House said today the measure is being looked at as part of a wide-ranging tax overhaul package under consideration by Congress. The announcement came after an anticipated visit by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto went south. Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

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(Update: The initial story detailing new Canadian auto incentives was published on January 12. It has been updated to reflect new information.)

Canada’s new government-funded incentive program for automakers isn’t as generous as initially reported.

Last week, the federal government made changes to the Automotive Innovation Fund to allow car manufacturers, parts suppliers and R&D companies access to conditional grants that do not require repayment. Unfortunately, a communications slip-up at the country’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development made the pile of cash a whole lot taller than intended. Read More >

By on December 19, 2016

MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 16, 2016--Raj Nair, Ford executive VP, global product development and chief technical officer, drove the Ford GT supercar off the line to help celebrate the event along with employees and guests. The all-new Ford GT is entering the final phase of development and production has begun. One of the first Ford GTs is being driven off the line at the Multimatic assembly location with the first behind the scenes look at the assembly line for all-new Ford GT. The Ford GT is the culmination of years of Ford innovation in aerodynamics, lightweight carbon fiber construction and ultra-efficient EcoBoost engines. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen

An invitation to automotive industry supplier Multimatic in suburban Toronto is one you never turn down.

It’s legendary in the racing world, winning countless major races and championships, and it’s also the unsung hero supplier behind cars like Aston Martin’s One-77 and Vulcan. With those projects, it produced the carbon tubs, suspensions, and performed much of the engineering required for Aston to deliver complete cars.

While Ford’s been trotting out GT prototypes and pilot cars for what seems to be an eternity, I’m a bit impartial to the project given my indifferent relationship with the carmaker. Still, for Multimatic, assembling the Ford GT takes its business to another level altogether. In the back of my mind, I know the Multimatic factor is going to figure prominently into this car.

Read More >

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