By on March 13, 2013

We continue on our ‘what the XXX bought in 2012′ series. After going to ChinaEuropeRussiaIndiaIsraelItaliaIndonesia and France, today we cross the border to Canada.

Had enough already? Thought so, and it’s ok because you can check the best-selling models and brands in 172 additional countries and territories on my blog. Enjoy!

Back to Canada. And in 2012 a very important record was broken… Jump in to know more!

 You can check the Top 35 best-selling brands in Canada in 2012 here

The Canadian new vehicle market is up a solid 6% year-on-year in 2012 to 1,677,000 registrations (compared with +14% in the US). Brand-wise, Ford is in the lead like in the US with a slightly higher market share at 16.1% thanks to 269,813 sales, albeit down from 16.9% in 2011. Toyota climbs into second place with sales up 19% to 171,174 and 10.2% share, passing Chevrolet down 8% to #3 and 138,990 units and now threatened by both Hyundai at 136,283 sales (+5%) and Honda at 131,558 units (+22%).

Check out the Top 260 All-models ranking in Canada in 2012 here

In the models ranking, 2012 is a historical year in Canada: for the first time since the automobile was created, one vehicle manages to sell over 100,000 units in the country in a single year. The Ford F-Series is up 10% on 2011 to reach 106,358 sales and beating its previous record of 97,913 units it set back in 2010 after only 11 months this year. This is a truly outstanding performance at a time when pick-up trucks are not the default choice anymore in North America. For a bit of perspective, we have to go back 8 years to 2004 to find the F-Series record year in the USA… Note it is the 18th consecutive year the Ford F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in Canada.

Check out the Top 260 All-models ranking in Canada in 2012 here

The entire Top 4 most popular models in the country in 2012 are unchanged vs. last year, with the Dodge RAM at #2 with 69,255 sales (+8%), the Honda Civic at #3 and 64,962 units (+18%) and the best-selling Passenger Car in Canada for the 15th year in a row! The Dodge Grand Caravan is down 3% to 51,552 sales but stays 4th. Other good performers atop the ranking include the Hyundai Elantra up 13% to #5, Honda CR-V up 33% to #11, Toyota Camry up 49% to #22, Chrysler 200 up 89% to #27 and Kia Rio up 104% to #30. The Mazda CX-5 is the best-performing all-new model at #39.

Check out the Top 260 All-models ranking in Canada in 2012 here

And here. You know now everything to know about what the Canadians bought in 2012.

You’re welcome.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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26 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What The Canadians Bought In 2012...”

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that the Caravan is down to #4 and the Ram where it is (although the full size trucks are just stupidly cheap) . It’s also surprising to see the Corolla and 3 down where they are as they used to be perennial favourites.

    I’m also surprised to not see the Rondo, Orlando and 5 a little higher, but that’s just down to anecdotal observations on my part

    • 0 avatar

      I think the perpetual thrift of Canadians which is driving the record Hyundai and Kia sales might explain some of the soft Corolla and Mazda3 sales.

      Civic is just the Civic, it’s also seen as a “premium” choice by many.

      • 0 avatar

        Seems like the Civic is to Canada what the Golf is to Europe.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          That’s a pretty fair assessment. It’s been a dominant car here for a very long time. Due to our high gas prices the Civic sells the way Accords do in the US.

          And the Civic has had the reputation of being not just an affordable car, but a sightly premium car as well. The Civic-based Acura EL 1.6 and 1.7s have been very successful here for a long time as well.

          • 0 avatar

            I love my Canadian Civic. It’s got the best workmanship of any car I’ve owned, although a family member has a Japanese TSX that is every bit as good. The same could not be said for my Canadian Plymouth Scamp.

          • 0 avatar

            Like NZ as regards Australia, they have more “fuel sippers” than we do.

  • avatar

    Look at the bottom half of the chart and it looks like domestic luxury is just getting demolished… which fits with my general observations around town here, if you have money to spend on cars (which is seemingly everyone in Toronto) you spend it on an audi, BMW or mercedes.


    CTS -29%
    Escalade -16%


    MKX -17%
    MKZ -42%


    Regal -38%
    Lucerne -76%
    Enclave -11%
    Lacrosse -16%


    • 0 avatar

      That Lucerne number is pretty good, considering that the last one was a 2011 model.

    • 0 avatar

      If you cherry-pick individual models, it’s easy to match whatever conclusions you have drawn. Let’s look at the brands in total:

      Cadillac -12% (still a drop, waiting for ATS)
      Lincoln -25% (same pattern as in the US)
      Buick +12% (doesn’t look so bad now, does it?)

      Looking at imported premium cars:

      Mercedes +7%
      BMW +5%
      Audi +19%
      Acura +12%
      Lexus +13%
      Infiniti 15%
      Volvo -18%

      For the Japanese brands, of course, some of the 2012 growth is actually Tsunami recovery.

      • 0 avatar

        Hmmm, I’ll counter and say that 12% growth for Buick is

        a) mostly due to introducing a new model with the Verano
        b) a matter of a few hundred cars
        c) moving them for 0.7% market share to 0.8% market share

        Put it this way, Buick has 25% more models for sale (5 vs 4 last year) and managed 12% sales growth.

        I don’t think it’s really contradicting what I’m saying, especially with double digit declines for cadillac and lincoln and massive growth for other luxe brands like audi (which I see EVERYWHERE).

  • avatar

    Having just returned from a business trip to Montreal, I’m surprised ‘clapped-out but newish Hyundai with no hubcaps driven by a smoke’in hot babe’ wasn’t included on the list – as that seemed to account for about half of the traffic.

    Talking cars with our French-Canadian host gave us a real perspective of a have-less society as he referred to his brand new civic as ‘going all out’ over his previous elantra. This guy is a engineering manager for a very successful manufacturing operation.

    • 0 avatar

      No hubcaps in Montreal = winter tires. They happen to be mandatory during the winter months for all of Quebec. Trying to get them installed around November is a nightmare! (People in downtown MTL don’t have places to work on their cars, and garages are incredibly busy.)

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I wonder why Canucks prefer full size PU over the “superior” global midsizers. Canada must be a closed market, or lacking options… or or… Canadians just like the bloody things.

    • 0 avatar

      Two words, oil sands. The oil industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan accounts for a massive amount of fleet truck sales.

      On the retail end, Canadian truck buyers are much like American truck buyers, they love their cowboy limos. Even if fuel is around 30% more expensive than in the US.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s all about value. Cars in Canada are *expensive*. We also don’t have the same prejudices as the US. Chryco’s Caravan can be had for less that $20k. Yeah, it’s a value pkg, but so? Same for the F150. There’s a value pkg that’s FX4 based. S/crew 4×4, V8, 6.5′ box, power conv. group, bedliner, running boards. About $30k. Compared to $35k for a “midsize” of no particular merit it looks like a hell of a value especially if you compare the backseat room. The F150 is *huge*! Come to Toronto and you’ll see them everywhere.

        • 0 avatar

          Under $20K for a stripper Caravan sounds like a fair value for someone that wants a Caravan. $30K for a stripper FISO, even a 4-door one, still sounds like sticker shock.

    • 0 avatar

      The market used to have a lot more choice – small trucks were very popular, especially in rural areas. I imagine at least some of those full-size truck sales are pickups priced and spec’d down to where the small trucks used to be.

      Also the Jeep Wrangler is at #20, which even given what I just wrote I find surprising.

      • 0 avatar

        The US Industry with NAFTA makes US vehicles a whole lot cheaper than ANY imports outside NA. Seeing your Japanese and Korean offerings come from there as well.
        Similar to Australia and New Zealand. We have our differences, vehicles are slighter higher in NZ but because of the Free Trade Agreement, you see a similar car culture and vehicle ownership.

      • 0 avatar

        “The market used to have a lot more choice – small trucks were very popular, especially in rural areas. ” Something we have noted in our Free Trade with New Zealand a lot of their vehicle mix started to look like ours.

      • 0 avatar

        @Nebs – Small truck choices were at one time encouraged/sponsored by CAFE, BUT in the early ’90s, CAFE change the rules and made all trucks equally exempt from the Gas Guzzler tax. Natural selection took over and small truck sales (except for base strippers) thinned and therefor, choices started to go away.

      • 0 avatar

        I would suspect by the new Global Diesels being introduced and new diesel commercial vehicles that could change again. Canada had a diesel smart car I believe that was not sold in the US?

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed the trucks are mostly in Alberta and the rest of the prairies. While there are pickup trucks in southern Ontario, the F-series is far away from being the top seller in the Toronto area.

    • 0 avatar

      “I wonder why Canucks prefer full size PU over the “superior” global midsizers..?”

      The reason in pretty clear. NO regular cabs… The Taco and Frontier ONLY come in Access and King Cabs in Canadia for base strippers. What’s the point of mid-size at that point?

      This shows EXACTLY why the mid-size truck market sucks for OEMs, but loved by cheapskates and bottom feeders alike. Take away the base-base strippers and there’s not much meat left on the bone!

      • 0 avatar

        Where’s Big Al and RR? They should love this!

      • 0 avatar

        I’m confused. Are you saying that Canadians would buy significantly more Tacomas if they could get single cabs like the US can?

        • 0 avatar

          Exactly CJ. It’s obvious regular cabs strippers are the meat and potatoes of the North… I mean US mid-size pickup market. OEMs won’t admit it, but the proof is everywhere. So are the strippers.

          This also explains why Frontier sales are so pathetic in the US. No regular cab Frontiers down here either.

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