Canadians Are Falling Head Over Heels in Love With the All-new 2018 Honda Odyssey, As They Should

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

In the 2016 calendar year, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s 41st-best-selling vehicle.

In the first half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.

Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.

Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be.

The venerated Honda Odyssey became Canada’s 24th-best-selling vehicle in July 2017, a result that had Honda Canada so excited that initial celebratory statements weren’t adding up. On the one hand, Honda Canada said the Odyssey “recorded its best-ever sales.” Not just the best July, but the best month ever.

But then Jean Marc Laclerc, Honda Canada’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, said the Odyssey “ recorded its best ever July sales figures since 2002.” Either it was the best ever or it was the best since 2002, but it can’t be both.

Because this is the revered Honda Odyssey, we took this muddled language extraordinarily seriously. And by “extraordinarily seriously” we mean we emailed Honda Canada to clarify. The Honda Odyssey’s July performance in 2017 — 1,794 sales, a 41-percent year-over-year increase — marked the best July for Honda Canada’s van in history, and the best any-month performance since 2002.

The Odyssey, typically outsold by vehicles such as the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Forte, Nissan Murano, Honda Accord, Honda HR-V, Toyota Highlander, and Kia Sportage, outsold all of those vehicles in July. The Odyssey outsold the third-ranked minivan in Canada, Toyota’s Sienna, by a 47-percent margin.

Despite the blessed Odyssey’s growth — and largely because of plunging sales from the class-leading Dodge Grand Caravan — the Canadian minivan segment nevertheless fell 7 percent in July 2017. (Sales are down 4 percent, year-to-date, excluding mini-MPVs from Kia and Mazda.) The Honda Odyssey nevertheless grew its share of the minivan market from 15 percent in July 2016 to 23 percent in July 2017, all because Canadians saw the light.

The switch was flicked. The mind’s eye was opened. Savviness became the standard. Older siblings now bask in the ease with which the Odyssey’s Magic Slide second row seats allow for easy third-row access. Mothers are seen overtaking pedestrian Mazda 5s like they’re, well, pedestrians. The infotainment-frustrations of fathers has finally faded. The beautifully chubby cheeks of a sleeping, rear-facing infant are now analyzed in perpetuity by every fawning Odyssey-driving nanny.

Automotive enlightenment has reached Canada.

U.S. sales of the Honda Odyssey fell 10 percent, year-over-year in July 2017.

[Image: © Timothy Cain]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Cactuar Cactuar on Aug 15, 2017

    I posted two comments about the flaky quality of the 18 Odyssey, yet they don't appear? Is it because I included a dot com in my comment? If that's the case we really could use some slacking of the rules.

  • Klossfam Klossfam on Aug 15, 2017

    They also buy more Ridgelines (relative to market size) than in the US...I live on the border and we see more total Ridgelines in Canada than Stateside (of course, I'm looking as I drive a 2017 Ridgeline)...

    • Timothy Cain Timothy Cain on Aug 15, 2017

      The U.S. pickup truck market is 6X the size of Canada's. Ridgeline sales in the U.S. are 8X stronger than they are in Canada. U.S. Ridgeline YTD pickup truck market share: 1.4% Canada Ridgeline YTD pickup truck market share: 1.1% However, if you narrow it down to midsize, then yes, Canadians (in their tiny midsize market that only forms 8% of the overall truck segment, compared with 16% in the U.S.), then the Ridgeline appears marginally more common than in the U.S., relative to segment size. U.S. Ridgeline YTD midsize pickup truck market share: 8.2% Canada Ridgeline YTD midsize pickup truck market share: 14.0% And in the overall market, the Ridgeline owns a 0.24% share of the Canadian auto industry; 0.21% in the U.S.

  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!
  • Roman Our 1999 Pontiac Sunfire Gt is still running without any issues. 25 years and counting.