8 Cars Canadians Can Buy That Americans Can't
The Canadian new vehicle market is not merely a mini-representation of the U.S. auto industry. Full-size pickup trucks own a significantly larger percentage of the Canadian market, for example, and Canadians are nearly three times more likely to buy a Toyota Corolla than a Toyota Camry.
The Canadian market can, however, be a useful test bed.
Some new vehicle pass the test, such as the BMW X1 which enjoyed 16 fruitful months in Canada before grabbing a slice of the American pie. Others, such as the Chevrolet Orlando, wilt under the pressure of the Ontario-built Dodge Grand Caravan, endure a brief four-year run, and never even get a chance to make it in America.
Other cars aren’t prone on a test bed, they’re simply the response of different automakers to different markets. We already looked at seven U.S.-market vehicles which don’t make their way through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. These are the eight current vehicles which are marketed in Canada, not the United States. ( We’ve already examined the seven cars Americans can buy that Canadians can’t.)
Kia sold the previous-generation Rondo in the United States. 73,100 Rondos ended up in American driveways between 2006 and 2011. But following the Rondo’s 28,645-sales peak in 2008, sales plunged by half in recession-plagued 2009.
When Kia Canada introduced a new Rondo — sales of which are consistently falling — for the 2014 model year, Kia USA didn’t join in. It’s a much-improved vehicle, but Canadian sales today are down 76 percent compared with 2008.
Although Canadian sales of the Mazda5 in 2016 are half as strong as they were a year ago, and though sales of the Mazda5 in 2015 were down 79 percent compared with 2008, Mazda Canada will continue to market the Mazda5 in 2017.
We discussed the Mazda5’s U.S. demise two years ago.
Check that: the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is sold in the United States, but only as a niche market EV. In Canada, where Mercedes-Benz has sold the B-Class since 2005, the second-generation B-Class is marketed as B250 and B250 4Matic with the CLA250’s 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
7 percent of the non-van Benzes sold in Canada are B250s.
MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS WAGON
Mercedes-Benz Canada announced the C-Class Wagon’s upcoming Canadian immigration last January.
The C-Class, last sold in the U.S. in wagon form in 2005, returns to Canada two generations later as the C300d 4Matic. D is for diesel.
MITSUBISHI LANCER SPORTBACK
Forgot all about it? Canadians have, as well. The Lancer Sportback had a limited U.S. run alongside the current Lancer, but the 2014 model year was its last.
North of the border, the Lancer Sportback continues through 2017. Some people might notice. Most will not.
With an advertised base price below $10,000 (sans air conditioning and power equipment), the Nissan Micra is a Canadian success that sent the Versa sedan packing.
Nearly 26,000 Micras have been sold in the 28 months since its April 2014 launch. In 2015, the Nissan Micra was Canada’s 16th-best-selling car.
Asked in May what the future held for the Toyota Venza, Toyota Canada’s spokesperson wouldn’t go into detail, suffice to say that, “Venza continues to be produced for Canadians.” TTAC delved into the Venza’s U.S. cancellation in April 2015, citing the car’s awkward positioning in Toyota’s lineup for its demise.
In Canada, the Venza has always told a different story. In fact, though sales now are down by half compared with 2011, the Venza was strong enough to outsell the Toyota Camry in 2010 and 2011.
TOYOTA YARIS SEDAN*
As we discussed in the U.S. edition of this very article, the very same car is sold north and south of the border. But for a few more weeks, it falls under different banners.
The Toyota Yaris Sedan is a Scion iA — soon to be Toyota Yaris iA — in the United States. In both cases, it’s really just a Mazda 2, which isn’t sold in either country.
[Images: Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota]
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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That and the word Venza is very close in pronunciation for toilet in Japanese, which is a soft B "benza".