By on November 11, 2014

2015 chrysler 200Canada’s best-selling midsize car? The Chrysler 200.

At least, that was the case in October 2014, a month in which sales of the 200 jumped 120% to 1800 units. Even with the near-disappearance of the Dodge Avenger, the fraternal twin of the new 200’s predecessor, Chrysler Canada midsize car sales grew 64% last month.

Odd as this may sound for U.S. observers, it’s not completely out of the blue in Canada. Nor did we arrive at this point without an explanation.

South of the border last month, the 200 was outsold by a large group of direct rivals: Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, Sonata, and Optima. Moreover, even though 200 sales jumped 40% to 11,675 units, total Chrysler Group midsize volume was down 5% as the 200 has not yet been able to make up for the Avenger’s lost volume, as well.

In Canada, on the other hand, the 200 was well ahead of all direct rivals, opening up a 421-unit gap between the Chrysler and Honda’s Accord. In other words, the 200 31% more often than the Honda last month. The leader from July, August, and September, Hyundai’s Sonata, was down 25% as it no longer benefited so thoroughly from both the arrival of a new generation and the clear-out of the outgoing car. Canada’s year-to-date leader, the Ford Fusion, was up 4% compared with October 2013, its second-lowest month last year.

Canada midsize car sales chart October 2014 YTDLooking at recent history, the Fusion has been the Canadian midsize leader for much of the last half-decade, topping the category in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. But the Ford’s 12% year-to-date drop through the first ten months of 2014 is symbolic of the category’s overall decline. Midsize car sales in Canada are down 14% this year. And it’s not as though these were Canada’s favourite cars to begin with.

Twelve midsize nameplates from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen have accounted for fewer than 99,000 sales this year, or about 15% of Canada’s declining passenger car market. Those same cars are responsible for nearly 31% of U.S. new car sales.

While midsize cars rank first, second, fourth, sixth, and tenth in year-to-date U.S. car sales, Canada’s top midsize car, the Fusion, slots in behind eight better-selling small cars, including the subcompact Hyundai Accent.

It’s among these doldrums that Chrysler Canada spotted an opportunity with their new, more stylish, more modern car. And so they incentivized the 200 up to its wing mirrors in discounts, a story chronicled in TTAC’s most recent review of the 2015 200.

The comparison thus becomes 200 versus Dart as much as it is 200 versus Accord. At this moment, Chrysler Canada’s advertised deals include $3000 in consumer cash, dropping the base price below $20,000 to match mid-grade Darts, a price which is bound to be further reduced on dealer lots with obvious, obligatory accouterment: bouncing gorillas and streamers and balloons. The Dart conundrum is a story told on TTAC in the past, but who would have expected the debate to return so soon? Return, yes, but so soon?

And as you’ve guessed, Dart sales did decline in October, falling 14% to 549 units, 1251 back of the 200. Canadian Dart sales are down 13% in 2014.

On a larger scale, the Chrysler Group was Canada’s leading manufacturer in October for the first time since March. The lead over the Ford Motor Company, Canada’s year-to-date leader by a small margin, was inconsequentially small, but it’s nevertheless a key fact in this whole issue.

The 200 succeeds in Canada in large part because of the way it’s positioned price-wise, but also because of Chrysler’s might in this country. Chrysler’s five brands own 15.6% of the Canadian market this year compared with 12.6% in the United States.

Imported from Detroit? Why, yes, the 200 is actually built outside Detroit in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Chrysler’s two other products, the 300 and Town & Country, are built in Ontario.

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44 Comments on “Best-Selling Midsize Car: Chrysler 200, In Canada, In October...”

  • avatar

    Canadians have good taste, that 200 is a beautiful car

  • avatar

    I don’t know if I could live with a 9 spd trans…all that hunting and pecking. Seems like overkill.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with the new multi-speed trannys is that with so many gears to choose from, they need to know what terrain you’re about to encounter, the speed that you intend to go, etc. — all of the things that a 5-spd manual will do with your right hand (or left hand, ROW).

      There’s a real short, pretty steep grade where I pull my Malibu’s 6 spd auto into “Manual” mode before going up, as it has no idea what to do, and I simply got annoyed with it up/down shifting (as if it were an obstinate child). It’s mostly OK otherwise with accelerator-modulated shifting.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t driven the 9 speed but the 8 speed is so smooth you can’t tell it’s shifting – so why would it matter?

      • 0 avatar

        What 8 speed is that? In our 41K mile 2012 A6 3.0T, passengers in adjacent cars can now feel most downshifts.

      • 0 avatar


        You may recall earlier this year, TTAC featured two detailed articles by a transmission engineer on the 8 and 9 speed ZF transmissions. The 9 speed is a completely different design than the 8, and utilizes dog clutches for some shifts. The engine goes lullaby from being connected to the wheels while the ECM carefully matches input and output rotation speeds before jamming the two dogs together.

        In practice it’s cr*p, always heading for a high gear that even a slight grade needs it to downshift, which depending on which gear it is trying to select, can take 2 full seconds. It is awful. I tried it on the 200, TLX andTLX AWD (twice). Nine speeds to nowhere.

        All you have to do is drive a car so equipped. It’s not subtle, it’s obvious.

        As for the ZF 8 speed, yes it is just fine – I tried it on the BMW X1. Of course, one bad one was made especially for CJinSD and his Audi A6, so he’ll have one more thing to moan about for years to come, spitting verbal fire and venom as is his wont.

    • 0 avatar

      Same reply, c. 195X: “I don’t know if I could live with any more than two speeds in my Powerglide…all that hunting and pecking. Seems like overkill.”

      There’s a reason semi-trucks have 10-15 gears, and tractors about 16.

      • 0 avatar

        If each of us drove an 80,000 pound vehicle for 150,000 miles per year, and the cost of fuel was our single largest budget item, our vehicles would have 15 gears too.

        Since we don’t … etc etc

  • avatar

    If they’re marking this down by 25% off MSRP I can see the logic, warts an all.

    Otherwise, Canadians are just weird, eh.

  • avatar

    You must realize that Canadians do not buy midsize cars – the only time I see one in Toronto is when I see a Camry taxi. I suspect a BMW 3 series is more popular than any midsize car around here. I could literally count on one hand the number of new accords or malibus i have seen since their launch.

    That being said, the 200 is priced at $20,000 including destination – which is usually about $1600 in Canada. Any other mid size car would be about $27,000 – except the Malibu, which GM has just marked down to $20,000. Next month’s sales numbers should be interesting.

  • avatar

    First Justin Bieber, then Rob Ford, and now this. What ever happened to Canada?

  • avatar

    Even more shocking is that the new 200 outsold the Chevy Malibu last month in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler (FCA) is within 3.5% of GM market share, 2% of Toyota and 1.5% of Ford – this is a % that no one would have predicted as recently as 2012 (let alone 1988 or 1998 or 2008).

      It’s simply astonishing how far Jeep and RAM Trucks (stealing market share from GM & Ford), and now Chrysler are crushing it.

      Ford & GM better be prepared for more market share erosion.

      The hyper-competitive product space and super aggressive price wars have only begun to heat up (Cadillac, Lincoln, Acura, Chevy, Hyundai, VW, Ford, Nissan, et al. will be market share losers).

      Toyota, Honda, Subaru & FCA will be big winners.

      • 0 avatar

        “Toyota, Honda, Subaru & FCA will be big winners.” While I’ll agree overall with what you said, these three Japanese brands appear to be running into difficulties. Subaru is losing it’s reputation for reliability while Toyota and Honda are simply becoming too generic–losing their individuality even though they are among the top-selling brands in the US. On the other hand, when you’re at the top, there’s only one direction you can go unless you keep pushing the envelope, of which neither appears to even be attempting. Once you reach the top, you can’t just sit on your laurels and that seems exactly what Toyota, Honda and Subaru are doing. Meanwhile, FCA/Chrysler is doing what made them noteworthy before; stretching the limits and doing things nobody else has even thought of.

        • 0 avatar

          Chrysler is doing what’s made them noteworthy periodically since 1957: building the most striking and least well built cars on the market. Sales rise. Customers learn about dependability and resale value. Sales fall. Bankruptcy beckons.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The 200 is a nicer, newer and cheaper car than the Malibu, so no real surprise.

      • 0 avatar

        The new Malibu is a real, genuine POS on an epic scale.

        Much like many of GM’s products.

        • 0 avatar

          For some reason GM people love the Daewoo pieces. They think they’re comparable to competitors’ vehicles, even if they don’t offer a single one with a decent engine. The Malibu and Regal don’t seem to fool almost anybody, setting them apart from other GM pieces.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey, hey….

            I like the Regal.

            What does the Regal have to do with Daewoo??

          • 0 avatar

            It isn’t a Daewoo. The Daewoos have people fooled. The Regal is recognized as a dud by the market.

          • 0 avatar

            Well good.

            I was getting concerned I’d have to cross the Regal off of my list.

            Why do I like the Regal?

            Because Gran Sport with 6MT. That’s why.

            It’s pretty obvious I know nothing else about the Regal.

          • 0 avatar

            Raresleeper, don’t reward them for making that dog and sullying the name “Regal Gran Sport”.

            A $38,000 midsizer should not be outrun by 10 year old cars. The Regal is a cramped dog. There are at least four people I see on my daily commute near the proving grounds that think these things are cool – my daily drivers that are known for being underpowered at around 200HP V6 for 3300-3700lbs always outperform these from a stop or even accelerating from a rolling 20.

            GM has so choked any performance out of those cars – you can’t drive a spec sheet. They will disappoint you. Driving them feels fast until you notice that everyone is passing you. Just get a Verano Turbo if you must have a Buick with some sporting pretension; the seats are a whole lot more comfortable.

            Or buy a new Mustang.

        • 0 avatar

          Why is the new Malibu an epic POS? As a daily rental, I will usually take a Malibu over a Fusion, though admittedly that’s mainly to get the leather steering wheel and non-video-game gauges.

          • 0 avatar

            The last gen was decent.

            The current one is 3 steps backwards.

            I’m not sure what M/Y you rented.

          • 0 avatar

            @DeadWeight, rented many of the previous generation, and many of the current one. Back seat seems smaller in the new one, and I prefer the rear styling of the old one, but I don’t know what else went backwards.

            Can you tell me what I’m missing?

  • avatar

    …and the Canadians take the bait.

    Oh, Serg!!

  • avatar

    Hey Mr. Cain?

    Any numbers on the trim level spread? I am wondering if they are selling more AWD models around here.

    We got our first permanent dump of snow over the weekend, some head shakingly bad driving has been witnessed.

    Also some really poor city management wrt snow clearing.

  • avatar

    Most cars cost more in Canada than in the US, but it seems the prices for FCA products are a lot closer to the US prices than most other makes – I suspect that this contributes to FCA’s sales success in this country.

    The new 200 is a nice looking car, and the fit and finish are much improved over the previous model. Chrysler also was clever to differentiate the 200 from other, more established, mid sized offerings by offering things like near luxury styling and features, large NA V6 with AWD, etc. I suspect that by pricing it keenly they are buying market share, and hoping that people notice the quality improvements.

    While there aren’t any “domestic” Canadian automakers, Chrysler is probably as close as it gets: they have a long history of building product in this country, the Dodge brothers got their start working in Canada, Walter P. Chrysler’s father was Canadian, and Sergio is a Canadian citizen who went to school here. It’s possible that some of this might help Chrysler by giving them a better understanding of the Canadian market than some other automakers.

  • avatar

    All this fuss about the 200 misses the main point.

    Per capita, midsize car sales run about 33% of the US. I rarely see an Accord or Camry or Fusion in Halifax. Mazda6 sightings are as rare as rhinos are on your prepaid $20K Safari expedition. Few people want midsize cars, they buy a CUV blob, a small car or a gargantuan RAM or F150 to compensate.

    That’s when they’re not trying to impress each other in leased German cars.

  • avatar

    Who said a Fiat can’t sell in North America.

    The 200 is probably equal to the Camry. Since the Camry is rubbish that is not saying too much.

  • avatar

    Ain’t surprised. Car is purty. I’m still gunshy of Chrysler .. but judging by all the previous generations of 200’s/Sebrings, expect to see a lot more than the two I saw this week. They made it just enough different from the old 200, but not so much that you can’t tell what it is…

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Hope Chrysler brings the 200 to the UK. At the moment we only get the 300, Grand Voyager and JGC.

    The Sebring/Avenger got a bad rep in the UK, and suffered the indignity of “buy one get one free” deals ( but the new 200 is a good looking car with a nice interior that would sell well in Europe if priced right and fitted with a diesel engine from the Fiat/Alfa range.

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