Small MPVs In Rapid Canadian Sales Decline

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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small mpvs in rapid canadian sales decline

GM Canada sold only 32 copies of its Chevrolet Orlando in November 2014, the worst month yet for the rapidly declining Mazda 5 alternative.

Although the Orlando set an impressive sales pace in its first 18 months in Canada – 2612 were sold during 2012’s fourth-quarter – it’s been in free fall ever since. Sales have declined in 19 of the last 22 months. 2013 volume was down 68%. Through eleven months, Orlando volume in 2014 is off by 43%.

Initially, the second-generation Kia Rondo appeared ready for liftoff. Rondo volume through the first half of 2014 was up 62% to 3582 units. But Kia Canada sold only 1660 in the last five months, a 58% drop.

Kia sold nearly 10,000 Rondos in Canada both in 2008 and 2009, but without a big December turnaround, they likely won’t top the 6000-unit mark in 2014, the first time in the model’s history it will fail to climb beyond the 6K barrier.

To say the Mazda 5 has improved on its 2013 Canadian output is to say that the 5 is having its second-worst Canadian sales year since the mini-minivan arrived in 2005. Mazda sold 11,944 5s in its best Canadian sales year, 2008, but they likely won’t top 4000 units in 2014.

As a trio, these MPVs are down 12% this year to 10,115 units. ( November volume tumbled 47% to just 510 units.) In a market that’s favoured each of them at different moments in the recent past, their combined failure to generate as many sales as, for example, the Honda Odyssey, is notable. Canada is, after all, a market that supposedly favours affordable, efficient, smaller vehicles, and it’s a market that’s registering more new vehicles than at any time in the country’s history.

The affordability quotient plays a large role in the Dodge Grand Caravan’s overwhelming domination in Canada’s minivan market. Excluding the trio of mini-MPVs from the equation, the Grand Caravan owns 61% of Canada’s minivan market in 2014. (That figure rises to 72% when the Chrysler Town & Country is thrown into the mix.) The Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna, and Town & Country combined for 30,543 sales over the first 11 months of 2014; the Grand Caravan shot up 11% to 48,619. With an advertised base price below $20,000 and full Stow’n’Go pricing below $27,000, the Grand Caravan doesn’t just take the dollars and cents fight to the Sienna and Odyssey but to the Orlando, Rondo, and 5, as well.

True, November was a particularly difficult month for the smaller trio. Even non-Chrysler/Dodge vans combined to outsell the Orlando/Rondo/5 by nearly three-to-one. Small crossover volume was booming, too, with Canada’s four top-selling small utility vehicles – Escape, RAV4, CR-V, Rogue – rising 29% to 13,604 units.

But can we expect any major change in the near future? Americans have now rejected the Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo and are not permitted to welcome the Chevrolet Orlando. Yes, in some small measure, automakers are willing to cater to the unique Canadian market, but when the products are faltering, flopping, and failing, we can’t expect them to do so for long.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Timothy Cain
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  • Boozysmurf Boozysmurf on Dec 22, 2014

    Lets see if this one comes through: I've posted a few times, but I have yet to have a post get through the SPAM filter here. From what I see, there's a couple of things holding the Rondo back. First, since its redesign, it's barely differentiated from the Soul. The Soul gives up some space in the back, to be sure, but looks more interesting, gets better mileage, and is cheaper. Second, the Rondo lost a lot of the functionality it had in its previous (extremely distinctive) design: it's not tight inside by any means, but I shopped the 2012 Rondo with a friend who was having Twins, and I've talked with him since: he test drove a 2014 Rondo, and wouldn't buy it now, where he adores his 2012, which has all the room for his things (he also does occcasional part-time duty as an Ottawa Senators crowd-mascot, and it carries his costume with aplomb). The Mazda5 ... Gawd, I want to love it, and I just.. can't quite. THe mileage is atrocious, considering its size, and it desperately needs an upgraded drivetrain. As a use-of-space example, it's pretty much second to none, however. Also, the single biggest problem with Mazda (in Canada, at least) is that while the base prices tend to be competitive, getting ANYTHING as an option jumps the price dramatically. You can just buy a lot more feature, for a lot less. The Orlando, that doesn't shock me. I test drove one with the same soon-to-be-father-of-twins, and it was cramped, badly organized, and wasn't great to get into and out of, in comparison to either the Rondo, Soul, or 5.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Dec 23, 2014

    I'd go Quest because nobody else is.

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