Cain's Segments: July 2013 Canada Recap

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
cain s segments july 2013 canada recap

For the fourth consecutive month, Canadian auto sales increased in July 2013. An extra 10,600 units translated to a 7% increase, the second-best improvement so far this year. Passenger car volume, which travelled in the wrong direction in the first half of 2013, jumped 11% in July.

Strong performances by Canada’s three best-selling cars – Civic up 36%, Elantra up 25%, Corolla up 23% – induced the progress. The trio accounts for one in five car sales in Canada. Although the Elantra lost its lead as Canada’s best-selling car, the Hyundai is only 351 sales back of the momentum-carrying Civic with five months remaining.

BMW’s 3-Series was Canada’s 15th-best-selling car in July. After finishing the first half 1371 sales ahead of its next-best-selling rival, the 3-Series ended July with an 1820-unit lead over the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The 3-Series and C-Class account for 36% of all BMW and Mercedes-Benz sales in Canada, a slightly higher ratio than they pull in south of the border.

Overall, however, so-called premium brands don’t perform in Canada the way they do in the U.S. On that point, most notable are Detroit’s high-end automakers. Cadillac owns 0.5% of the Canadian market; Lincoln just 0.3%. Market share afforded to Cadillac and Lincoln in their homeland totals 1.6%.

The trend is pointing in Cadillac’s favour. Sales jumped 33% in the first seven months of 2013 and more than doubled in July. Lincoln, on the other hand, is down 18% this year and fell 19% in July. Still, Cadillac generates 18% of its U.S. volume with the XTS, but XTS sales are 39 times stronger in the U.S. than in Canada, where big cars simply are simply not deemed to be desirable. Lacking the XTS’s U.S.-style impact, Cadillac is left with a very small lineup in Canada.

It’s not just big luxury brand cars like the XTS and Lincoln MKS (down 56% to just 168 YTD) that fail to attract buyers. Sales of the Chrysler 300 are down 3%. Taurus volume is down 19%. The Chevrolet Impala should pick up soon, but through July, Impala volume has been cut in half. Hyundai doesn’t sell the Azera here, but Genesis sedan sales are down 15% and Kia’s Cadenza has only managed 62 sales in its first four months. Nissan Maxima? Down 43%. Buick LaCrosse? Down 52%. Toyota Avalon sales nearly tripled, but at 839 units through seven months, it’s a rare breed. Toyota Canada sells that many Corollas every week.

No, when Canadians think big, they don’t think car. Despite the 14% year-over-year decline reported by Canada’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-Series, and drops at Chevrolet and GMC, pickup truck sales increased 3% in July, forming 17% of the overall market.

If the first, third, and second-ranked trucks all posted declines, not to mention the declines reported by five other continuing trucks and a couple defunct pickups, how did the truck market continue its Canadian expansion? Ram sales rose by 1373 units, a 21% year-over-year increase. Through seven months, the Ram truck range has outsold the GM full-size twins by 90 units. It still trails the Ford F-Series by a wide margin, but the Ram remains Chrysler’s catalyst.

To what end? The Chrysler Group sold more automobiles in Canada than any other manufacturer in July 2013. Ford Motor Company’s own Ford division was the leading brand, but Chrysler Canada’s five divisions outsold FoMoCo by more than 1000 units, Hyundai-Kia by nearly 5000 units, and General Motors by more than 7000 units. The Ram truck accounted for three in ten Chrysler sales. Combined, the Ram, Dodge’s Grand Caravan and Journey, and Jeep’s Wrangler and Grand Cherokee outsold General Motors by 739 units.

Through seven months, from a pure volume standpoint, Hyundai has outsold Honda. Dodge and Ram would be the second-best-selling brand if they rejoined. Declining Mazda is more than 6000 sales ahead of rising Volkswagen. BMW is 71 sales ahead of Sprinter-less Mercedes-Benz. Lexus narrowly leads Buick. Fiat is 1566 units up on Mini. And Porsche is well on its way to another record year, having already sold more vehicles than in all of 2010, which was a record year at the time.

Full table available here

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  • Dimwit Dimwit on Aug 15, 2013

    We're a pragmatic people. We look for value and efficiency over fripperies. That's why we like hatchbacks, minivans and pickups. Both Chryco and Ford have sales on their offerings all of the time. GM has languished. Hyundai/Kia is eating their lunch by giving a ton of value over anything from GM with very few compromises in return. I don't forsee many changes from that. The biggest thing is the intros... having vehicles available in the States and not here hurts. Chryco is very bad for that.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 15, 2013

    @Dimwit - I'd have to agree. I have been reading about Ram 5.7 8 speed combo's in the USA for a long time and even up to this July, they were rare in Canada. I have yet to see or even find a 6.3 ft crew cab on a dealer's inventory. The same can be said for the new HO Cummins.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.