7 Cars Americans Can Buy That Canadians Can't

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Michael Phelps has won more gold medals in the pool at the last four Summer Olympics than the whole Team Canada claimed, across all events, in the last seven.

Despite currently producing more total medals per capita than the American team in Rio, we Canadians can be found suffering from an inferiority complex. And yes, per capita medal counts are the kinds of statistics you can expect from the citizens of a nation that suffer from an inferiority complex.

It doesn’t help that Canada’s new vehicle market, one-ninth the size of the U.S. market, is deemed too small to benefit from one of the planet’s best sports sedan values, the Chevrolet SS.

Yet the Chevrolet SS is by no means the only new vehicle on sale in the United States that doesn’t cross the border.

We’re not talking about specific powertrain variants or trim packages. (Toyota sells an Avalon Hybrid in the U.S., for instance. American Honda will market a front-wheel-drive Ridgeline that won’t be sold in Canada.) No, these are seven distinct members of an automaker’s portfolio, which for one reason or another, are not in keeping with modified brand strategies in two markets which otherwise share so much.

(Meanwhile, here are eight cars Canadians can buy that Americans can’t.)


Let’s face it: weather matters. Canadians do buy convertibles, but in much of the country, there are only a few months in which a convertible can be routinely driven roof-down.

Therefore, attempting to sell a low-volume car through Buick outlets — Buick earned half as much Canadian market share as U.S. share in July — would perhaps be a waste of time.


As already mentioned, the Australian-sourced Chevrolet SS doesn’t make its way any farther north in North America than it already has. Those who know the history of GM’s most recent Aussie imports won’t be surprised.

The 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO didn’t find its way to Canada. Sales of the Pontiac G8 in the United States easily outperformed the Canadian results even though the Pontiac brand as a whole was consistently an over performer in Canada.


There were Hyundai Azeras and Azera predecessors sold in Canada. But with the dawn of the current Azera, Hyundai Canada decided to place their luxury eggs in a single Genesis-shaped basket.

Hyundai’s U.S. product planners now seem to agree, and the Azera is nearing the end of its U.S. run. Hyundai Canada hasn’t sold an Azera since 2010.


It’s not that automakers operating in Canada are entirely unwilling to offer current model year examples of previous-generation vehicles. After Volkswagen replaced the Mk4 Volkswagen Golf with the temporarily-renamed Rabbit, Volkswagen Canada continued to market the Mk4 Golf, albeit facelifted and renamed City Golf.

The first Nissan Rogue, however, was introduced in 2007, and it was no class leader then. Canadians have, however, made the current Rogue the country’s fourth-best-selling utility vehicle.


Combined, the Nissan Versa sedan and Nissan Versa Note hatchback are overwhelmingly America’s favourite subcompact car. In Canada, Nissan’s strategy is different.

The Versa sedan, which appeals to Nissan’s most budget-minded consumer in the United States, was supplanted north of the border by the Nissan Micra and its sub-$10K advertised Canadian base price.


Technically, the Scion iA is not a part of Toyota Canada’s Scion lineup. (Scion didn’t begin selling cars in Canada until 2010, seven years after the brand was launched in the U.S.) The Scion iA is nevertheless in Toyota’s lineup in Canada, only it’s marketed as a Yaris sedan.

In neither case is this humble but fun sedan labelled with complete accuracy. This is a Mexican-built Mazda2, which Mazda sells in Mexico and Puerto Rico as a Mazda2. With Scion folding, the Scion iA will become the Toyota Yaris iA.


You may have heard, TTAC’s own Bark M. is a fan of the Lotus Evora 400. Apparently even the press event was a pleasure.

U.S. deliveries of the new Evora 400 will begin in a couple of weeks. Canadians can’t even begin ordering Evora 400s until next April, Bark says.

[Images: General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Lotus]

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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  • GS 455 GS 455 on Aug 16, 2016

    Nissan doesn't sell the Quest in Canada either, not that they're exactly "selling" in the USA either.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on Aug 17, 2016

    Lincoln Continental? I keep hearing that it isn't coming to Canada

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.