By on June 22, 2016

Honda Civic Bing Maps Eastern Passage

We live on a small cul-de-sac with 19 other families. Until this past weekend, there were 33 vehicles parked in our street’s 20 driveways, not including the always different manufacturer-supplied press car parked in front of GCBC Towers.

But one family that already owned one Honda Civic just doubled the size of its fleet with another Civic, and in so doing also doubled the number of driveways on our 20-home street with two Honda Civics. This brought the total number of Honda Civics on our small cul-de-sac to nine, equal to a 26 percent share of the market.

Yes, it’s an extreme version of a typically Canadian story. Assembled in Honda Canada’s plant in Alliston, Ontario, the Civic is a long-running powerhouse, a reality intensified in our decidedly non-premium, working class community.

Meanwhile, the Honda Civic is climbing the leaderboard in the United States, as well.

Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, is by no means the target market for Cadillac Escalades; not exactly the ideal billboard advertising venue for a Lexus RX. After all, it’s a fishing community. Nowhere is there a wharf closer to the province’s capital city where lobster can be bought off the boat. We even have our own Chinese-owned lobster plant.

Built in 1918 by the U.S. Navy, Canadian Forces Base Shearwater has long been the economic driver in Eastern Passage. The community’s continued growth stems from being one of Halifax’s most affordable suburbs.

Moreover, while fuel prices aren’t as high as they were a few years ago, we’re still paying roughly $3.80/gallon for fuel (one Canadian dollar equals about USD $0.80 at the moment).

Fisheries. Military. Affordable housing. In other words, Eastern Passage isn’t positioned to be bastion of automotive excess. American retirees who purchased one of the few detached waterfront homes own a Mercedes-Benz ML, which stands in contrast to the squadron of compact cars and Nissan Rogues and XLT-trim F-150s like a McLaren P1 convoy appears ostentatious midst a sea of 458 Italias and G63 AMGs in Beverly Hills.

Our Eastern Passage cul-de-sac, then, does not perfectly represent the Canadian automotive landscape. Nor is the cul-de-sac on which TTAC’s managing editor lives in another area of the city, where there are three Honda Civics in nine driveways, an exact microcosm of the overall Canadian automotive picture. Our eight local import-brand dealers produce only one-third of their volume from light trucks, for example, although the same brands generate just under half of their collective Canadian volume from light trucks.

Honda Civic Alliston Factory

Even without the startling market share tallies attributed to the Honda Civic on our 20-home cul-de-sac in Eastern Passage, Honda Canada’s nationwide Civic performance is increasingly dominant.

For an 11th consecutive year, the Civic was Canada’s top-selling car in 2008, a streak which will undoubtedly stretch to 19 years in 2016. That year, when Honda set its all-time Canadian Civic sales record, 8.2 percent of the new passenger cars sold in Canada were Civics. The new tenth-generation Civic, released for 2016, arrived as the Canadian car market took a thumping – SUVs and crossovers now outsell cars. Yet Civic sales are surging and the record-setting pace from 2008 is once again in sight. Through the first five months of 2016, the Honda Civic now owns 9.7 percent of the Canadian car market; 11.3 percent in May, when Civic sales shot above 8,000 units for the first time in more than five years.

Changes in the overall market are still abundantly visible. While the Civic’s passenger car market share expanded by nearly two points from its record-breaking 2008 to 2016, its share of the overall market has fallen by a full percentage point. Pickup truck sales are nearly 50-percent stronger now than they were eight years ago. Honda Canada alone sells more than 4,700 utility vehicles per month now; not quite 2,200 per month then.

Further clarifying the Civic’s Canadian dominance is the degree to which America’s long-time best-selling car manifests its lesser form of dominance south of the border. The Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car since 2002, presently produces less than 6 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s passenger car volume.

Combined, the Camry and America’s second-ranked car don’t garner as great a share of the U.S. car market as the Civic does on its own in Canada.

America’s new second-ranked car? The Honda Civic, sales of which topped the Camry’s during the month of April and have risen 22 percent through the first five months of 2016. American Honda is on track for 2016 to end as the Civic’s highest-volume year ever.

So where’s the street in Kansas or Kentucky where one-quarter of all vehicles are Civics?

[Image Source: © Stephanie Cain/The Truth About Cars, Honda, Bing]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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35 Comments on “My Neighborhood is #CivicNation, And It Isn’t An Anomaly...”


  • avatar

    Alot of people say the Civic is ugly.
    I don’t think it’s ugly.
    I actually think it’s “OK”.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      I agree with the big truck fellow. It’s a competent commuter car that gives the driver some thrills when driven hard. It’s reliable and when stuff breaks you will find a mechanic who will fix it quickly.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    My area is the opposite of this trend; you’d never know the new Civic is selling so well nationally. Camries, Accords, Altimas, Fusions are everywhere. I think Subaru is disproportionately common here and those Crosstrek XVs are all over the place. New Civic? I’ve seen about a half dozen, sum total.

    It’s an ugly thing, but it is distinctive and has very few arguments going against it. Given the increased size and 1.5T, if I needed a reasonably priced sedan I’m not sure I would be looking to the Accord. Small wonder that it sells so well.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I drove one the other day, base model with a stick. It surprised me, very buttery and fluid personality in mundane driving yet it didn’t fight me when pushed until past 8/10ths. It had a very happy engine that, while still slow, liked to rev. Still a bit of tire noise, but acceptable NVH. The seating position was good despite the lack of lumbar adjustment. It reminded me that Hondas used to be really good.

    It’s a darn good car. Hatchback SI is going to be on my very short list upcoming.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “very buttery and fluid personality in mundane driving”

      This is a very eloquent way to sum up how I felt about my ’12 LX manual sedan, except mine had a fair bit of road noise and didn’t smother the road quite like a Camry or even a Jetta. But all of the controls (shifter, clutch, steering, pedals) were a real pleasure to use and placed in what felt like the ergonomically ideal position for me. Likewise the basic non-power seat with no lumbar adjustment fit me like a freaking glove. Airy feeling to the cabin with lots of room to splay out, thanks to a minimalist lower dash and console. Trunk was a tad small IMO, but the back seat was perfectly adequate and comfortable for adults to sit back there (did a bit of Lyft driving with it).

      Overall an enjoyable car with incredibly low running costs over the time that I owned it. Bought for $15k with 11k miles in Jan 2013, sold just this past month for $11k with 53k miles. No issues to note, no interior rattles or anything. I put on a set of tires at 35k miles, and just fluids and filters. Averaged mid-high 30s mpg in regular commuting, hitting 40ish mpg on some summer highway drives.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    Interesting observation. Being born and raised in the same general area, but travelling a lot for work, I’m always interested to see these kind of regional anomalies.

    I currently live in a different suburb of the same city (Fall River) and have done a similar count while walking my dog in the morning. Last time I checked, about 20% of the houses on my street have at least on Subaru in the driveway.

  • avatar

    The 2 most popular Hondas in Halifax are Civic and CR-V with basically 2 Civic to 1 CR-V. In addition Honda dealers in the Halifax area are very very busy places.

    As for neighborhoods at times its just the way the “shoe drops” but it would make sense that in a middle income neighborhood in the Halifax area there would be a good number of Civics or CR-V’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Generally speaking, Halifax is full of Hondas. When I lived there I had a Ridgeline, where in Florida where I am from used to be an oddity. In Halifax, there are tons of Ridgelines. They are excellent snow vehicles so I can see why.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Is this like the part in Brain Candy whenever there’s the big gay musical/dance number– and everyone on the street is washing a perfect red Dodge neon?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Timothy Cain’s article has me wanting to go around my crescent to count vehicles.
    I don’t think there are any on my end of the crescent. If I look at my immediate neighbours I see a 15 year old F350 with a camper on it and a Subaru Forester. My neighbour right accross from me has an eclectic collection of vehicles: a diesel powered Land Cruiser, a Miata, an old Chevy 1/2 ton reg cab, a Jeep CJ, a VW camper van, and a Carmen Gia.
    My other neighbour has an solitary F150 extended cab.
    The pot heads beside me have a Kia SUV, and my other neighbour has a Jeep Wrangler. The other has a Corolla and Rav4.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Around here in this suburb of Hamilton, ON you’d find driveways with his full size pickup and her CUV (or minivan depending on the newness of the vehicles).

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    What do people in places like Halifax or Nova Scotia do, as in their free time?

    Is there a weekend thing during the days or nighttime thing?

    Seal flipper pie or Swiss Chalet, watch some curling, and maybe a cold one and Stanley O’Dool’s to watch NHL or junior Olympic hockey, eh?

    It’s aboot time you opened up and spilled yer dark secrets, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Deadweight, I lived in Halifax for about five years. I love that place. Going back on vacation and to visit friends next month. I think that during the cold months ( late October to mid June) everyone hangs out at the two Costco stores. Those are the busiest Costcos I had ever seen in my life.

  • avatar
    cblais19

    They’re multiplying like rabbits in the DC suburbs.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    The new Civic is a total knockout. My only qualm is that the rear seat headroom could be better and I’m waiting for a chance to sit in a hatch back.

    It’s the only new car that I could buy and not feel like a chump. People see 50 mpg on the freeway in it and even though it has simulated shifting (the dumbest thing you can do in a CVT, imo) it accelerates as hard as Civic SIs. 23.5k MSRP for a Civic with a Turbo, CVT, and Honda sensing? Yes please.

    I wonder whether any of the honda sensing technology will work in the car with the manual transmission (probably not) but a Civic 1.5T Hatchback with Honda Sensing and a slick 6 speed is nearly my platonic ideal for efficient transportation.

    The only wrinkles are the Civic Si, Type-R, and that the Accord is moving to the platform next redesign – the Accord could be very good espically if it has the 2.0t for not a lot of money. I got a chance to drive the new Type-R while I was in the U.K for business and it’s fantastic. Probably not as fast on the track as the Focus RS/STI/Evo X but it has a certain quality to it that reminds me a lot of a motorcycle which is an intoxicating and I wouldn’t buy one new. But if the economy takes a hit after they launch it here and I’m doing well, I’d get a lightly used one and drive it until the autonamous pods happen.

    To the victor the spoils.

  • avatar
    TCragg

    My street in suburban London, ON is heavy on minivans, CUVs, and full-sized Toyota trucks. Contrary to a recent TTAC article, there are 3 Tundras and no full-sized trucks from Ford, GM, or FCA on the street. The Grand Caravan figures prominently, as do the Pathfinder, RAV-4, and CRV. Passenger cars are few and far between on my street.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    There are no Civics in my neighborhood; in Mount Airy, that most liberal bastion of Philadelphia, it is Prius nation. Those that need more room have a Subaru (as we used to), and those with something to prove, I mean, who appreciate automobiles, have an Audi (as do I). Because it does snow at least once a year in Philly. My wife has one of the two Minis on the block.

  • avatar
    James2

    The Civic is not ugly in the same way the Prius is ugly, BUT it is not pretty. It looks like three different designers went at it: front, sides and back. The all-chrome-all-the-time! nose is, um, chromey. The sides are kind of fine, but the sheetmetal doesn’t flow. And the tail is as overdone as the front, it’s like a Volvo but more in-your-face.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I find it odd that the new Civic is growing on me. It’s a rare thing that a vehicle that I initially really did not care for in terms of exterior styling seems to grow upon me with short time.

      But f**k Honda and their weasly capitulation to hamster-mill turbochargers.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        I thought it was the butt that I would hate in the end, but it’s the nose that doesn’t sit well with me the more I see them. It looks pretty decent in white, but that’s because the chrome blends in better (IMHO.)

        I think I feel the same way about the Civic as I do about the bug-eyed 3rd Gen Integra…. not pretty at the beginning, but you know its a design that won’t be as polarizing in a few years.

  • avatar
    Waterloo

    I always found it interesting that the best selling car in the US is one car class higher (bigger and more expensive) than in Canada. Canadians don’t like to hear it but we are a much less wealthy country than the US. We carry just about the same personal debt load and saving rates are only slightly better than the US.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      Also things like not being able to write off your mortgage payments… from an economics standpoint that just boggles my mind why it’s a thing.

      Also having lived in suburban SoCal, the wider streets seem to encourage bigger cars just out of sheer visual appeal. A Fit looks at home in the cramped urban streets of Vancouver, but it looks hopelessly tiny cruzing through the San Fernando Valley.

  • avatar
    mikey

    No , we can’t write off , our mortgages . But we don’t have to pay capital gain, on our principal residence. A quick google search tells me , I can buy a nice house in Eastern Passage ,for half of what my property here in the GTA is worth. $270 K , tax free money ! I could park my Mustang on Tim Cain’s street , and be surrounded by Honda Civics.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      In the U.S., there’s no tax due on up to $250,000 of gain per person, or $500,000 of gain per married couple, on the sale of a principal residence that has been continuously used as such for at least 24 consecutive months.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    All trucks here in eastern OK. Mostly F150’s (the big four-door slab-sided newer ones) followed by Silverados then Titans. No Dodges. They exist around the city, but in much fewer numbers. The secondary cars are Armadas, Tahoe/Yukon, RX Lexi, etc. They are all on the street, as the garages aren’t deep enough to hold them.

    There are equal parts Civic, Sonata, Optima, Mustang, and such for teens/students, which is to say relatively few. You really can’t leave a parking space around here without creeping out blind surrounded by walls of painted pickup metal higher than your windows.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I live in a middle class neighbourhood , in what you might call , a suburb of Oshawa. Mostly GM salary, and hourly retirees. Across the street, a GM skilled trade retiree, has a Traverse , and a HHR. Next door is an Acadia, and a G 6. On one side of me, is Charger, on the other side , a Pathfinder. Down the street, theres a retired government guy, with a BMW, and a Corolla . Then i see a retired GM hourly guy, with 2 Pontiac Vibes. At least 5 GM truck 4 drs. I see a couple of shiny Yukons. {i assume GM staff vehicles } As far as mini vans go ? A couple of FCA vans, and a Quest with rust around the wheel wells. The affluent younger kids , still living at home ? The Honda Civic rules. The other younger people {where Mom and Dad won’t write the cheque} ?? Cobalts, older Civics, and Kia’s are the norm.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    On my block, there are no Civics…people to the left have a ragtag mix of cars: Astro van, Pontiac Gran Prix, Saturn SL1, ratty old Camry and a RUSTY Sentra. People to the right have a Cad CTS and a hybrid Tahoe, people across the street have a newish Malibu, newish Cruze, older Camry and a little Chevy CUV of some sort. People next to them have a Honda Odyssey and a Cruze, people on the other side have a little Chevy CUV and a Silverado. The most noteworthy set of wheels on the block is the landscaper/pothead/suspected pharmaceutical rep who has an Escalade, Hummer, Corvette, Eclipse convertible and a HORRIBLE mid-90s Ram 2500 that he uses for work.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Well, Mr. Cain, you won’t find a street in Kentucky that is 25% Civics, not as long as our friends in Georgetown keep crankin’ out the Camry. Kansas is probably a longshot too, because pickups. Maybe SoCal, or places that are basically Canada, like upstate NY or Minnesota?

  • avatar

    I live in Brevard County Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center. The 4 Honda dealers in the county all advertise that Honda is the best selling brand in Brevard.

    I recently helped that statistic with the purchase of a black Civic EX-L coupe. I’m really surprised how fun the thing is to drive & how well equipped it is. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, which by the way, is the best buying experience I’ve ever had.

    Now that I own one, I see Civics everywhere.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I used to life in a Toronto neighbourhood that almost inexplicably had dozens of Saabs – that was a delightfully strange phenomenon.

    In my condo, Mazda seems to be the most common choice (which might be confirmation bias or something similar on my behalf), but there are plenty of Civics as well.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Here in New Brunswick (next province over from Nova Scotia) the same is true. I work in an office with over 200 employees, most of whom drive to work. The most common car in our lot is by far the Civic. Second is the Corolla. It’s not uncommon that my view from the cafeteria at break time is of 4 Civics parked in a row.

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