Canada

Canada’s Unifor Also Reaches Tentative Deal With All Automakers

Canadian union Unifor wrapped a very brief strike on Monday after reaching a tentative deal with Stellantis. The union’s actions didn’t even last a full day before workers were notified that the strike had ended.

The resulting deal mimics what we’ve seen offered to the UAW after taking on all three American automakers since mid-September, with the Canadian pay bumps looking a little leaner than the percentages seen in the United States. Still, it’s a pretty good deal yielding Unifor members a noteworthy increase in hourly wages and a shorter path to receive top-level pay.

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Canada to Mandate 100 Percent EV Sales by 2035

The Canadian government will mandate the sale of EVs by the middle of the next decade. That's the message from the country's Environment minister Steven Guilbeault in new regulations his office announced earlier this week.

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Getting Dirty During the Alcan 5000 -- Part One

The Alcan 5000 Rally might not be what you think of when you think of rallying a car. It’s not an event chocked full of sideways-sliding Subarus or overpowered hatchbacks catching air over hills as hundreds of fans gaze as rabid drivers hurtle through the woods in search of the fastest stage of a gravel rally.

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GM's Oshawa Plant Increasing Truck Production, CAMI Getting Electric Vans

On Monday, General Motors’ added a second shift for Heavy Duty variants of the Chevrolet Silverado at Oshawa Assembly to ensure the automaker can meet demand. There are also plans to launch a third shift to spur production of light-duty pickups after GM spent the last two years struggling to deliver vehicles in a timely manner.

GM Canada recently representatives from the Canadian federal government, eager to show that its $2 billion investment into Ontario manufacturing (specifically at Oshawa and CAMI Assembly) had already borne fruit. While this is said to eventually include the production of BrightDrop’s all-electric and perpetually connected Zevo vans, GM is presently focused on swelling production on some of its most valuable products.

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Industry Begins Blaming the Bridge, Truckers in Ottawa

With the Ambassador Bridge having been cleared by police over the weekend, those protesting government mandates have literally been relegated to the sidelines. Canadian officers from a variety of departments, including Ontario Provincial Police, are now situated at relevant intersections and Windsor, Ontario, has declared a state of emergency in case demonstrators return.

But don’t think the story is over. The trucker blockade certainly caused trouble for the automotive sector and it suddenly seems interested in rolling the event into the industry’s ever-expanding list of excuses. Now that the rigs have all been removed, spokespeople have been chiming in and they’re being presented as rather single-minded on the matter. They want more assistance from the government to quash any protests that might impact their bottom line and are happy to have something else to blame for why the broader industry remains in such a pitiful state.

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Freedom Convoy Update: Truckers Are Winning

The Freedom Convoy that originated in Canada last month has gained an incredible amount of momentum, garnering loads of support from citizens around the world. Sympathetic protests seem to be erupting everywhere while the original group of truckers remains planted on the streets of Ottawa to demand an end to government mandates. But honking at Parliament Hill for two weeks was only a portion of the convoy’s grand strategy.

Large groups of truckers have broken off to create blockades at meaningful border crossings, gaining control of North America’s already ailing supply lines. The most recent example resulted in the taking of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, an essential trade crossing for both the United States and Canada. Truckers have held the bridge for five days and automakers have begun announcing shutdowns due to supply issues. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has begun discussing an end to lockdown measures after failing to stop the protests and other nations appear poised to follow in its footsteps.

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Canadian Trucker Protests Continue, Aussies Launch 'Convoy to Canberra'

With supply lines being of particular importance these days, truckers are leveraging their role to encourage government to see things their way. Canada’s Freedom Convoy reached Ottawa on Friday to demand officials end pandemic-related restrictions it believes are wreaking havoc on the economy and the protests have yet to stop.

While this all started with U.S. and Canadian truckers urging the government to abandon border restrictions that forced all drivers to be vaccinated and confirmed as COVID free (starting January 15th) or be forced to quarantine for 14 days, activists are now asking Ottawa to abandon all mandates or prepare itself for worsening disruptions to already ailing supply chains. They’ve since been joined by Australian truckers, who have formed the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ for similar reasons. Future demonstrations are also being prepared for the United States.

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Stellantis Makes Decision on Vaccine, Truckers Head to Ottawa

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block proposed OSHA regulations backed by the Biden administration, it was assumed that automakers would quickly begin weighing in on vaccine rules now that there would be no federal obligation. However, they’ve actually been keeping quiet on the matter, with Stellantis being the first manufacturer to walk back previous requirements.

While the automaker had previously been working up to companywide vaccine mandates, it pushed back its vaccine deadline for early January. This week, Stellantis confirmed that it will be abandoning the scheme entirely after suggesting that the existing compliance rates were sufficient. Though something tells me that executives have become aware of the swelling pushback against COVID restrictions and became concerned with the optics.

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Canadian Government Now Wants All Vehicles Zero-Emission By 2035
The Canadian government has said it wants to accelerate its self-imposed deadline to ensure the sale of all light-passenger vehicles be of the zero-emissions variety by 2040. According to statements made by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on Tuesday, Canada’s new target should be 2035. That presumably leaves customers with a little over a decade to enjoy internal combustion engines, though the realities of transitioning into an entirely electric automotive infrastructure may push back that date substantially.Alghabra noted that the target was “ambitious, undoubtedly, but it is a must,” adding that the ruling Liberal Party believed it was possible with an elevated amount of determination, focus, and effort. He also stated that more funding will be required to meet the new goal, coordinated with additional government regulations.
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QOTD: Is the 1Moto Show the Best in the US?

’60 H-D Bobber 113 CI, rigid frame, 4-speed, suicide shift. Harvey Mushman, owner/builder.

The 1Moto Show, the annual showcase for custom motorcycles held in Portland, Oregon, took place April 30-May 2. Is the 1Moto Show the best bike show in the country?

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Canadians Using Cabs to Avoid Quarantine Restrictions

With Ontario embracing some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in the West and giving the police force carte blanche when it comes to enforcing public health, many Canadians have told us they’re not exactly enthralled with the idea of notifying their government that they’ve been out of the country. This is doubly true if they’ve just flown in by plane because the nation now requires a few days’ stay in a hotel as part of its mandatory 14-day quarantine for those traveling by air.

Due to the added time, cost, and general hassle of booking yourself into a hotel for 3 nights — awaiting the results of a mandatory COVID test before you’re technically allowed to go home to continue self-isolation — some travelers have opted to utilize ground transportation for the explicit purpose of avoiding restrictions. Rather than flying all the way into the Great White North, Canadians are flying into neighboring American airports and then hailing a taxi that will take them across the border.

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QOTD: Change the World's Climate by 2030 or Just Talk About It?

The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?

At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?

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Mercedes-Benz Names New Head of Van Life

Mercedes-Benz USA announced the elevation of Nicolette Lambrechts to vice-president and managing director of sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz vans, effective May 1st. Underscoring the van life movement, sales, marketing, service, and parts for the entire segment is under Lambrechts’ purview.

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2021 Ford Bronco Sports Called Back for Jiggly Suspension Modules

Ford has announced that 1,666 2021 Ford Bronco Sports are being called back for jiggly rear suspension modules. Seems that someone in the Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant didn’t secure the rear suspension module to the subframe, which could affect the vehicle’s stability.

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Quebec Banning Gasoline Dependent Passenger Vehicles in 2035

On Monday, the Canadian province of Quebec announced it would be joining California and numerous European locales in the banning of gasoline-powered automobiles. Announced during a meeting regarding the region’s green economy plan, the French-speaking province said all new vehicles sold after 2035 would have to be entirely electric. Then there was a slight derailment as Premier François Legault used the occasion to publicly decry that it was “totally unacceptable” that some shop owners in Montreal are failing to greet customers in French and that the situation needed to be remedied immediately. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante agreed, saying “clients must be able to get served in French. Period.”

One battle at a time, heroes. Justice will be served (and in glorious French) to those English-speaking heathens and their foul-smelling cars soon enough.

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UPDATED: Chevrolet Sonic Dead In Canada, Report Claims

As our previous story detailed, new car buyers are leaving the passenger car market in droves, so it’s not surprising to see automakers getting up and leaving the party. General Motors capped off 2018 by announcing its intention to drop six car models, leaving the fate of its remaining sedans and hatches in question.

North of the border, it seems a seventh model has disappeared before the other six even got a chance to get their coats and boots on. According to GM Authority, citing multiple sources familiar with GM’s operations, the Chevrolet Sonic’s life has come to an end in Canada. How long will it last in its home country of the United States?

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Fiat Chrysler Wriggles Out From Under Past-due Loan by Outwaiting the Government

It took years, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finally unburdened itself from the weight of an unpaid loan by waiting until the government grew tired and gave up. Not that the automaker’s pursuer ever expected to recoup the cash.

It was revealed this week that Canada, which sunk nearly $14 billion into General Motors and Chrysler during the depths of the recession, quietly wrote off a $2.6 billion (CAD) loan made to Chrysler in 2009. It’s not the last bit of money owed to that country’s government by the two automakers, but it is a major outstanding chunk. In its defence, the feds didn’t have a hope in hell of getting the loan repaid, as the company that received it no longer exists.

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NAFTA Is Dead; All Hail the USMCA

Following some furious 11th hour bargaining, Canada reached an agreement with U.S. trade negotiators Sunday night, marking the end of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the creation of its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. USMCA, for short.

While some of the finer details have yet to be released, the trilateral trade deal prevents the nightmare scenario of heavy tariffs levied on vehicles imported from Canada. To keep General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and Toyota plants humming, officials in the Great White North reluctantly offered up some milk and cheese.

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Bet You Forgot Today Was the NAFTA Deadline

If you forgot today was the deadline for finalizing North American Free Trade negotiations, don’t worry, so did practically everyone else. In fact, the whole affair is starting to feel like that old car that’s been sitting in your friend’s yard for far too long. He keeps telling you he’s going to fix it up and make it better than new. “This is the summer,” he says. But you know he’s just going to keep mowing around it while it continues to rust and collect mice, so you’ve tried to push it out of your mind.

Like the restoration, the entire concept of a deadline for the trade deal is rather arbitrary at this point. NAFTA’s initial target date for an agreement between the three countries was March 31st, roughly one year after negotiations began. The May 17th deadline was claimed by U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said Congress had to be notified under the Trade Promotion Authority statute.

“We need to receive the notice of intent to sign soon in order to pass it this year,” explained Ryan’s office. “This is not a statutory deadline, but a timeline and calendar deadline.”

Basically, Congress wants to influence the president and NAFTA negotiators to conclude talks swiftly and reach an agreement before midterm elections. But Mexican officials warned everyone not to get their hopes up. “The possibility of having the entire negotiation done by Thursday isn’t easy, we don’t think it will happen by Thursday,” said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo earlier this week.

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Hilarious: Canadians Can't Even Buy a Focus Active Under Ford's New Plan

For a country that looks at its southern neighbor’s gasoline prices with lust and envy, you’d think small cars would make up a greater share of the vehicle mix. Well, they don’t. Canadians like their crossovers, pickups, and SUVs even more than Americans, and Ford’s future product lineup shows it.

It seems like just yesterday you could walk into a Ford dealer and check out a stingy and unsafe Aspire, before the hungry salesman upsold you on an Escort (or perhaps its sporty ZX2 sibling). Then there was the Contour, Taurus, and Crown Victoria to consider.

Those days are gone, and under Ford’s new truck-centric product plan, which ditches the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus, Canada won’t even get the crossover-ized Focus Active hatch. It’s a Mustang or nothing for small car lovers.

Apparently, we’ve made our bed and now need to lie in it.

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Tax the Rich (Person's Car): Luxury Auto Dealers in One Canadian Province Aren't Happy About Their Customers Getting Soaked

After hitting it big with the Fab Four, George Harrison wrote the scathing song Taxman in protest of the British government’s “Super Tax” on high-income earners. At the time, the boys faced a 95 percent tax on their earnings (“There’s one for you, nineteen for me”), and Harrison reportedly did everything he could to offshore his wealth.

Britain’s dismal weather wasn’t the only reason rock musicians fled the country during this period.

In beautiful British Columbia, a mountain- and wine-filled area north of Seattle, the provincial government’s recent budget has some auto dealers steaming mad and worried their customers will hit the road in search of deal. The province’s New Democratic Party government, elected last year, plans to levy a 25 percent tax on the purchase of very high-end vehicles, with lesser models facing a 20-percent markup. However, many dealers wonder where the law of diminishing returns comes into play.

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Once Again, Canada Gets a Mercedes-Benz the Americans Can't Have

There’s more to living in Canada than just higher taxes, polar bear incursions, and brutally cold weather. For some reason, denizens of the Great White North are allowed to enjoy more choice at the bottom of the Mercedes-Benz model range.

For example, Americans can be forgiven if they weren’t aware of the B-Class Electric Drive, a low-volume EV hatchback that bit the dust late last year. MB sold just 744 of them in the U.S. in 2017. Meanwhile, Canadians can still walk into their local dealer and sign on for a 2018 B250, the conventional variant powered by the CLA-Class’ turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

The EV model never made its way north of the border, while the conventional model never made its way south of the 49th Parallel.

On Friday, the automaker pulled the wraps almost all of the way off its new A-Class — a more refined front-drive entry-level model making its first foray into the North American market. Designed to lure buyers who wouldn’t otherwise have considered the brand, the A-Class will spawn a five-door and sedan variant in Europe, while American buyers can expect only the four-door. And Canada? Well, the country that really hates choice in wireless carriers and dairy products somehow gets the five-door, too.

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Canada Slow to Realize Something Might Be Wrong With 2008 Smart Cars

Maybe it’s the Hoth-like climate and the urge to do anything in one’s power to warm it up, but Canada has so far taken a laid-back approach to the fires plaguing older Smart Fortwo models. A big part of the problem is that no one’s telling the country’s transportation regulator about them.

The models bursting into flames in the Great White North are of the same vintage as those which sparked an investigation by the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, Transport Canada has yet to open a defect investigation of its own.

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Union Boss Reassures Everyone That NAFTA Is Toast

With everyone weighing in on the ultimate fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement, it almost seems as if we’re cataloging their bets to see just how right or wrong they’ll be in the negotiatory aftermath. Considering there has been such a limited amount of progress on the trade talks, there honestly isn’t much else to do.

Suggesting that NAFTA is “is going to blow up in 2018,” Jerry Dias, president of the Canadian union Unifor, has planted his flag on the side of a total breakdown of the agreement. Unifor represents 23,500 Detroit Three auto workers living north of the border, plus some 16,000 working in the supply chain.

As a union leader, Dias is prone to hyperbolic statements. However, his insight into the situation runs a little deeper than most.

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GM to Union: End Strike or Automaker Will 'Wind Down' Equinox Production

Talks between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor seem to have broken down after the automaker mentioned it might wind down production of the Chevrolet Equinox at the striking CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Negotiators explained to the union that the cost of continuing the month-long strike would mean losing more business to Mexico, which has already been filling Canadian production gaps since before the strike began.

GM currently builds the popular Equinox at three North American facilities: the CAMI plant, and two Mexican plants. With a shrinking 41-day supply of rolling stock at the end of last month, the facilities located south of the border can’t produce an equivalent volume to the Canadian worksite. However, GM suggests that could change if Unifor doesn’t throw in the towel soon.

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If U.S. Auto Sales Were Growing Like Canadian Auto Sales, Americans Would Buy 18.5 Million Vehicles In 2017

In concert with the American auto industry, Canada’s auto industry reported an all-time record year of sales in 2016.

The difference? In Canada, 2016 represented the fourth consecutive year of record sales. Another difference? Canadian auto sales just kept on growing throughout 2017. Most recently, that streak of increases included an 8-percent year-over-year uptick in September 2017. Sales last month were 16-percent stronger than they typically are in September.

Month after month after month, Canada’s auto industry just keeps on smashing records. It’s as if the U.S. auto industry posted its banner year of 17.5 million sales in 2016 and then bettered that with 18.5 million sales in 2017.

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Finally, the S205 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon Arrives in Canada

It took some doing.

Mercedes-Benz Canada first showed the wagon version of the fourth-generation C-Class 20 months ago at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show. All-wheel drive, a 2.1-liter diesel with 369 lb-ft of torque, and a profile deserving of all our praise was destined for Canadian showrooms despite Mercedes-Benz USA’s rejection of the wagon.

But there were hiccups. 13 months ago, we asked Mercedes-Benz about the C-Class Wagon’s arrival on this side of the Atlantic and received the following response: “We’re still waiting for certification.”

Mercedes-Benz never got the certification it desired, and diesel engines have disappeared from the automaker’s North American lineup. But by April 2017, we knew Mercedes-Benz had a new plan: the all-wheel drive would remain, but in place of the 2.1-liter diesel there’d be a 2.0-liter turbo C300 with 241 horsepower.

It’s finally here. And it’s still bound for America.

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Canadian Auto Sales Would Have to Plummet in Final Third of 2017 for This to Not Be the Industry's Best Year Ever

Canadian auto sales climbed to an all-time record high in 2013, jumping past the 1.7-million mark for the first time since 2002. The industry bettered that total in 2014, topped 2014’s total in 2015, and set a new record in 2016.

While U.S. auto sales continue to fall, sliding 2 percent in August and 3 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017, Canadian auto sales in August 2017 improved for a fourth consecutive month and the seventh month so far this year. Moreover, the improvements have been anything but modest. An 11-percent uptick in May was followed up by a 6-percent June increase, a 5-percent July increase, and a 7-percent August rise.

In fact, so strong are Canadian auto sales through the first two-thirds of 2017 that disaster would need to strike in the final four months of the year in order for 2017 not to be the best year ever for the Canadian auto industry.

Disaster appears unlikely.

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Confirmed: Volkswagen Canada Won't Be Offering the T-Roc, Either

Not only is Volkswagen’s recently unveiled T-Roc subcompact crossover destined to avoid U.S. shores, Volkswagen’s Canadian dealers won’t be offering the T-Roc, either.

Revealed last week, we had always assumed the T-Roc was the logical next step for a Volkswagen brand that had suffered long and hard from a limited, delayed, premium SUV strategy in North America.

But it turns out Volkswagen of America will skip the T-Roc, likely in favor of a different small utility vehicle. So we asked Volkswagen Canada whether the T-Roc would arrive for the 2018 model year, the 2019 model year, or never at all.

Volkswagen’s response is the third option. “At least for now,” company spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff tells TTAC.

Surely small-car-loving Canada — where the Honda Civic has been Canada’s top-selling car for 19 consecutive years and subcompact cars hold 19 percent more market share than they do in the U.S. — wants another subcompact crossover? Nah, not so much. Like Americans, Canadians haven’t fully latched onto the subcompact crossover, either. Not yet.

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

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.

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U.S. Auto Industry Slowdown, Eh? Canadian Auto Sales on Track for Fifth Consecutive Record Year After Big July

Canadian auto sales jumped 5 percent in July 2017, a big jump for an industry that has now posted growth in six of 2017’s first seven months.

Year-to-date, sales are well ahead of 2016’s pace: 58,000 units greater than in the first seven months of 2017. In fact, on a quest for the Canada’s first ever year of more than 2,000,000 sales, the industry would now need a genuine downturn in 2017’s final five months to avoid a hugely successful year.

More proof that the Canadian auto industry’s on a hot streak? Even passenger car sales are… well, they’re only down slightly.

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Fast Cars, Fooling Around, and Formula 1 in Montreal

With contributions by Sebastien Bell and Sam McEachern

Mechanics have made their last-minute checks, drivers circulate sur la piste managing tire and brake temperatures, engineers confirm strategies; cars stage on the starting grid, the dissonant cacophony of twenty 1.6-liter V6 hybrid Formula 1 engines spooling reverberates through the grandstands as five red lights illuminate sequentially…

Hosted on Montreal’s Île Notre-Dame since 1978, the Grand Prix Du Canada has always been a special place for the Formula 1 paddock. For decades, drivers have loved the city’s vibrating atmosphere and unbridled passion for the sport, but what they really love is the circuit’s proximity to a devilish downtown core drowning in alcohol and impeccably dressed women.

Why do you think we like it?

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Canadian Auto Sales More Numerous Than Ever in May 2017; Canadians Paid More Than Ever, Too

Canadian auto sales surged to record levels in May 2017, surpassing the previous monthly record from April of last year by an 8-percent margin and topping 200,000 units for just the second time in history.

You know it’s going well when, in a virulently anti-car market, passenger car sales increase, year-over-year. And in the fifth month of 2017, car sales did indeed improve, growing 3 percent beyond May 2016 levels.

You know it’s truly going well when, in a market that had already seen pickup truck market share climb to 20 percent, pickup truck sales jumped 38 percent to form 22 percent of the industry’s volume.

And you know it’s going exceptionally well when, in the span of just one month, the relatively small Canadian market purchases and leases 217,000 new vehicles at significantly higher prices than in the past.

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Canadian Province to Become Used Nissan Leaf Dumping Ground

The Nissan Leaf, which burst onto the scene in late 2010 as one of the first mass-market electric vehicles, hasn’t changed much since its introduction. Until very recently, driving range sat well below the three-figure mark. And as its technological edge dulled, the Leaf gained a reputation as one of the fastest-depreciating vehicles on the market.

If you find yourself living in a certain jurisdiction, Nissan and a mid-level government has now made a purchase of a used Leaf far more attractive than it once was. Message to the U.S. and the rest of Canada: Quebec wants your old Leafs.

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New Nissan Micra? No, but the Old Micra Will Stick Around in Canada

Nissan Canada has once again confirmed to TTAC that the next-generation Nissan Micra, already on sale in some global markets, is not destined for Canada.

The existing Nissan Micra arrived in Canada in 2014, some four years after Nissan first introduced the fourth-generation Micra elsewhere. Micra production in Mexico has slowed somewhat in the early part of 2017, along with a slowdown of Versa production, as Nissan begins building the Juke-replacing Kicks at its Aguascalientes plant.

But when we asked Nissan Canada’s director of corporate communications, Didier Marsaud, whether the fourth-generation, Aguascalientes-sourced Micra will continue to be available to Nissan’s Canadian dealers, the response was definitive.

“Absolutely.”

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EV Proponents Try Something New: A Permanent Location for One-Stop Test Drives

Plug ‘n Drive sounds like the world’s less appetizing fast food restaurant but is, in actuality, a not-for-profit organization with a strict focus on encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. It’s so committed, in fact, that it is opening a “Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre” near Toronto’s York University in order to provide the general populace free opportunities to pilot EVs.

Of course, you don’t just get to test drive electric vehicles — there is an agenda here. Plug ‘n Drive also wants to use the location as a base to educate people on how to get the most out of EV ownership, make a case for the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation, and explain government programs like Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. Think of it as an EV church, where the faithful can worship and and non-believers can be converted.

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The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon Liveth! (In Q3, In Canada, Without A Diesel)

News that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon would arrive in North America with a diesel powerplant and all-wheel drive caught many industry observers by pleasant surprise early last year.

But it’s been 15 months since Mercedes-Benz announced at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show that the C300d 4Matic would be sold in Canada, albeit not the United States.

Not a crossover, not tall, not be-cladded, not even remotely intended for mass consumption, the C-Class Wagon was destined to be a cult favourite — that’s right, favourite — in The Great White North. However, eight months after the announcement, there was still no C300d 4Matic wagon in Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian showrooms. Blame Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal for delaying the certification.

Yet TTAC was told just yesterday the C-Class Wagon will appear in Canadian showrooms later this summer with a, how do you say in the Canadianese… minor change, eh?

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Canadian Volkswagen Diesel Owners Finally Get a Settlement; Dealers Begin Selling 2015 TDIs

April has brought good news to diesel lovers and haters on both sides of the border.

After spending the winter (and the better part of last fall) jealously eyeing their southern neighbor’s buyback and compensation program, Canadian owners can now apply for that longed-for envelope of Volkswagen cash, as well as a one-way-ticket to hell for their emissions-rigged TDI model.

On Friday, the automaker settled court cases in Ontario and Quebec, paving the way for a 2.0-liter diesel settlement program that starts next week. The models involved are the same as in the U.S. — 105,000 units in all — and owners and lessees face similar choices as their American counterparts.

Unlike the recent shadowy roll-out of half-fixed 2015 models in the U.S., several Canadian dealers are proudly advertising the availability of “new” TDIs.

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Looming Legal Weed Sparks Roadside Worries in Canada

Canada’s oh-so-green federal government sure isn’t concerned about one form of air pollution — clouds of marijuana smoke. With the country’s cities already infused with the tell-tale odor of wacky tobaccy, legislation has been tabled to make possession of the drug legal, perhaps by as early as July 2018.

Great news for grass aficionados, but a troubling turn of events for road safety advocates. The jury’s out on whether Canada’s law would spark an uptick in drugged driving, but the proposed methods of testing — and convicting — weedy drivers has raised other concerns. One group has a problem with the Great Green North’s strategy to root out baked motorists.

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Canadian Man Selling Five Acres of Land and Over 340 Project Cars Near Monster-infested Lake

If you’re a god-tier automotive enthusiast looking for more vintage project cars than you could ever finish before your death (and don’t mind living in rural Canada), then we have good news for you. There’s a five-acre property for sale in picturesque southern British Columbia that’s perfectly suitable for ignoring while you wrench away on more than 340 classic cars that are included in the deal.

For $1.45 million, you can be the proud owner of a restoration shop, a sizable hangar, and enough steel to build five more on a property already zoned for auto salvage.

The land sits alongside B.C.’s White Post Auto Museum and is only a few minutes’ drive from Shuswap Lake — which is rumored to shelter a 25-foot prehistoric monster known as the Shuswaggi. Cryptozoologists believe the beast to be a surviving basilosaurus, meaning there could be an entire family of ancient whales for you to hunt when you aren’t organizing row after row of mid-century automobiles. If you aren’t into cryptid spotting, mentioning old Shuswaggi could also be a good way to haggle down the price.

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There Are Nine Months Left In 2017, But We Already Know the Honda Civic Will Be Canada's Best-Selling Car This Year

Canadian passenger car sales are falling, not unpredictably, as SUVs and crossovers continue to earn an increasingly large chunk of market share.

And yet at the top of the passenger car leaderboard, Canada’s two best-selling cars are selling at a record pace, with no small amount of help from new hatchback body styles.

Bucking the Canadian, North American, and global anti-car trend most distinctly is the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years.

Indeed, so strong have Civic sales been through the first-quarter of 2017, we’re ready to make a projection. Make it a confirmation. We’ll say it with certainty. Honda Canada’s Civic streak will reach a full two decades, twenty years, as the Civic becomes Canada’s best-selling car in 2017.

The Civic’s lead is already insurmountable.

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Government Never Forgets: GM to Pay Back Cash That Funded Celebrity, Cutlass Ciera Production

A bill for the assembly of two decades-old models — one from a defunct marque — will come due on April 1. And unlike much of the debts written off during General Motors’ bankruptcy, a major subsidiary now has to pay this chunk back.

The money, $220 million in all, was handed to GM Canada back in 1987 to save the Montreal-area Sainte-Thérèse Assembly plant. GM Canada used that bankroll to build the stunningly sexy Chevrolet Celebrity and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It later cranked out the last Pontiac Firebirds and fourth-generation Chevrolet Camaros.

The thing about 30-year interest-free loans is that someone eventually comes to collect.

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Why Does Canada Trump Mexico in Eyes of New U.S. President?

Since the inauguration of U.S. president Donald Trump, Canadian political and auto industry officials have taken every opportunity to highlight the economic prosperity and millions of jobs that depend on cross-border trade. And the lobbying seems to have paid off.

At a joint press conference following the first official meeting Monday between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the U.S. leader praised the economic ties between the two countries.

“We have a very outstanding relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it,” said Trump. “We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries.”

At the same time, he took a swipe at the trading relationship with Mexico, calling it “unfair to the United States.”

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Trump Proposes 20-percent Tax on Mexican Goods to Pay for Wall; Other Countries Could Take a Hit

Consumer products and vehicles produced outside of the U.S. could see a big hike in sticker price if the Trump administration goes ahead with a proposed plan to tax Mexican goods — and eventually all foreign goods — to the tune of 20 percent.

The White House said today the measure is being looked at as part of a wide-ranging tax overhaul package under consideration by Congress. The announcement came after an anticipated visit by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto went south.

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Whoa, Hold on There: The New Pile of Canadian Cash Available to Automakers Just Shrank

(Update: The initial story detailing new Canadian auto incentives was published on January 12. It has been updated to reflect new information.)

Canada’s new government-funded incentive program for automakers isn’t as generous as initially reported.

Last week, the federal government made changes to the Automotive Innovation Fund to allow car manufacturers, parts suppliers and R&D companies access to conditional grants that do not require repayment. Unfortunately, a communications slip-up at the country’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development made the pile of cash a whole lot taller than intended.

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Ford GT Job 1 at Multimatic - The Making of a Future Legend

An invitation to automotive industry supplier Multimatic in suburban Toronto is one you never turn down.

It’s legendary in the racing world, winning countless major races and championships, and it’s also the unsung hero supplier behind cars like Aston Martin’s One-77 and Vulcan. With those projects, it produced the carbon tubs, suspensions, and performed much of the engineering required for Aston to deliver complete cars.

While Ford’s been trotting out GT prototypes and pilot cars for what seems to be an eternity, I’m a bit impartial to the project given my indifferent relationship with the carmaker. Still, for Multimatic, assembling the Ford GT takes its business to another level altogether. In the back of my mind, I know the Multimatic factor is going to figure prominently into this car.

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General Motors Will Allot More Product to Oshawa Besides Pickups: Sources

After a long-fought public relations campaign by General Motors Canada and Unifor, and a collective agreement that sees Unifor-GM temporary workers converted to full-time employment, Oshawa Assembly is on the up as pickup truck final assembly will run alongside Cadillac XTS production in the future.

However, that truck production can’t sustain Oshawa Assembly in the long-term, and sources within the company are saying more product is on the way for the beleaguered plant.

According to two General Motors representatives, one on each side of the border, Oshawa will produce vehicles in addition to the still unannounced pickup final assembly and Cadillac XTS.

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Ignore FCA's Claims: The Dodge Journey Isn't, Wasn't, And Won't Soon Be "Canada's Favourite Crossover"

It was early 2014 when an Albertan car salesman drew my attention to a claim he noticed in commercials and promotional material from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada. The Dodge Journey, they said, was Canada’s No. 1 selling crossover.

It wasn’t. But at the time, FCA was using some hilariously inappropriate segmentation from R.L. Polk Canada, Inc. to support the claim.

FCA Canada’s more recent Journey-related claim uses altered language to make a similar-sounding statement. FCA calls the Journey, “Canada’s favourite crossover.”

The Dodge Journey is not Canada’s favourite crossover. The Dodge Journey never was Canada’s favourite crossover. Based on current trend lines, the Dodge Journey does not stand a chance of soon becoming Canada’s favourite crossover.

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So A Trump Win Means You're Moving To Canada? Here's What You Need To Know, Automotively

Threatening to move isn’t new.

16 years ago, legions of American citizens promised to leave the United States if Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore. While there’s evidence that suggests emigration from the United States to Canada occurred at an accelerated rate during Bush’s two terms in the White House, it was more likely tied to the state of the economy overall than differences in personal politics.

But that didn’t stop Americans — not just celebrities, but Americans en masse — from shutting down Citizen And Immigration Canada’s website with excessive traffic on the night of 2016’s Trump electoral victory earlier this week.

Had the website operated normally, you would have discovered that moving to Canada isn’t easy. Yet your desire to relocate will not be sated by a move to sunny SoCal or the Florida Keys. You’re determined to live in Cape Breton, or Portage la Prairie, or Trois-Rivières. And in the automotive sphere, there are some things you really need to know.

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Sergio Marchionne Is Alarmed By FCA's Sudden Canadian Downturn, And Rightly So

With Jeep as the fastest-growing auto brand in the country and Ram pickup truck sales soaring to record levels, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was Canada’s top-selling automobile manufacturer in calendar year 2015.

It was the first year in the company’s 90-year history that FCA (or DaimlerChrysler, or Chrysler Group, or whatever it was known as) outsold all other manufacturers.

Yet in claiming the top-selling mantle, FCA’s Canadian market share decreased marginally, falling from 15.6 percent in 2014 to 15.4 percent in the automaker’s highest-volume year to date.

Fast forward nine months and FCA boss Sergio Marchionne finds the company’s Canadian situation, “alarming,” according to Automotive News Canada. How bad is it? And how did the tide turn so quickly?

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Oshawa Arena to Drop General Motors' Name Nov. 1

General Motors may have committed to its Oshawa assembly facilities, but it’s a different story for the city’s main arena.

General Motors Centre, a 10-year-old facility in Oshawa, will see its name change after another company secured naming rights.

According to DurhamRegion.com, the arena will be renamed Tribute Communities Centre on November 1st.

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All-New Nissan Micra Goes On Sale In Europe In March, Not In Canada Anytime Soon

Remaining relatively faithful to the Sway Concept from last year’s Geneva Motor Show, Nissan unveiled the fifth-generation Micra at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, more than six years after the fourth-generation Micra arrived.

Directed at the European market, which Nissan says is the world’s largest market for hatchbacks, the Micra is not at all intended for sale in the United States. But what about Canada, where Nissan has racked up 27,000 Micra sales in 29 months and the Micra is the brand’s second-best-selling passenger car?

“We don’t have current plans to announce for Micra in Canada for now,” Nissan Canada’s director of corporate communications, Didier Marsaud, told TTAC in an email today. “But Micra remains an important product in our portfolio in the Canadian market.”

So he’s saying there’s a chance.

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GM Canada Workers Vote Today on New Collective Agreement

General Motors of Canada workers are heading to the ballot boxes Sunday to vote on a plan that will bring final production of 70,000 trucks a year to Oshawa and new engine production to St. Catharines.

Vote tallies are expected Sunday evening.

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Oshawa Will Perform Silverado and Sierra Final Assembly

Trucks are coming back to Oshawa — kinda.

According to The Globe and Mail, a $400-million investment will fund upgrades necessary for Oshawa to perform final assembly of General Motors pickups using bodies manufactured in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and shipped to Canada.

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Massive Nissan Leaf Group Buy Kiboshed by Manufacturer

Just north of the Vermont border, you’ll find 3,712 very disappointed would-be Nissan Leaf owners.

A Montreal-based group seeking a low-priced bulk buy of Nissan’s electric car has had their dreams dashed by Nissan Canada, after the automaker seemed to grow wary of the group’s size, Quebec’s La Presse reports.

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Poltitics of Division: These 10 New Vehicles Demarcate the U.S. and Canadian Auto Markets

Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.

Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.

Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.

There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well.

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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.)

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7 Cars Americans Can Buy That Canadians Can't

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.

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Unifor President Praises Ford and FCA, Throws Shade at General Motors

Jerry Dias, Unifor President, isn’t mincing words going into this year’s labor negotiations with the Detroit Three. According to him, Ford and Fiat Chrysler see that they must commit to make investments in Canada to get a labor deal. General Motors? Not so much.

“There’s a clear difference between today’s discussions and the discussions yesterday,” Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, said at a press conference in Toronto on Thursday after discussions opened with Ford and FCA, according to the Financial Post. “Though we have similar challenges with both Ford and Fiat Chrysler, they understand that investment decisions are going to be a part of 2016 negotiations.”

Those are some politically correct, passive-aggressive fighting words.

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Oshawa Will Lose 'Doomed' Consolidated Line in 2017: Report

There might be some light at the end of the assembly line for Oshawa — but it will come with a price.

According to the Windsor Star, the plant’s Consolidated Line, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox in an overflow capacity using bodies shuttled from CAMI, won’t get another stay of execution and will certainly close in 2017.

However, a General Motors Canada executive familiar with the negotiations says that closing the Flex Line is not a “foregone conclusion.”

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