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.
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.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did not sell any Fiat 500Ls in Canada in August.
Hyperbole has gotten the best of modern society. You might say, “Those chips have no taste,” when asking your grocery-shopping spouse to stop buying those Garden Veggie Straws you so detest. But there is some taste; just not much. (Recommended: the rosemary olive oil flavor.)
“Alex Ovechkin doesn’t score goals any more,” your Capitals-loving son says. No, Ovechkin just doesn’t score as many goals as he used to.
Politicians never work together. There’s no sea ice in the Arctic. Subcompact crossovers always suck.
That’s the sort of rhetoric that minimizes the value of truth when truth is presented in an equally straightforward fashion. But in all seriousness, FCA Canada truly did not sell a single Fiat 500L in August 2017.
In fact, with alarming frequency, FCA Canada’s sales reports don’t include any Fiat 500L sales. But FCA Canada is sticking to its guns, unrelenting in the face of a horrifying popularity dearth, immutable when challenged by a Fiat lineup that needs an overhaul. FCA Canada confirmed as such to TTAC this morning: there will be a 2018 Fiat 500L.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe they should have called it the Toyota Camry SportWagon.
Maybe it wouldn’t have made a hint of a difference.
The first-generation Toyota Venza lingered for seven model years in the United States, ending its run with MY2015 before managing to collect 593 sales since, including four in January 2017. (They’re not easy to clear out, apparently.)
But the end of the Venza’s U.S. run in June 2015 was not the end for the Venza in America. Venza production at the Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant continued through the first 11 months of 2016 because of insatiable Canadian demand.
Well, now that demand has been sated. The Toyota Venza is officially dead. Kaput. Gone. Defunct.
Did it have to be this way?
99.9 percent of the minivans sold in the United States in 2016 were (oxymoronically-titled) full-size minivans.
The Kia Rondo finished its brief one-generation U.S. run in 2011, having generated 73,100 total sales over the course of nearly five years.
Having produced more than 160,000 sales for Mazda USA, the Mazda 5 is likewise no longer part of the automaker’s U.S. lineup. Mazda 5 volume was essentially chopped in half between 2008 and 2014.
The Chevrolet Orlando arrived in North America with a decidedly Floridian name but never actually made its way to Florida, or the U.S. market as a whole. Having generated 12,038 Canadian sales, the Orlando quickly departed Canada after volume plunged 81 percent between 2012 and 2014.
Yet the Kia Rondo and Mazda 5 are still available in Canada. They’re alive and (un)well. And while “full-size minivans” claim 96 percent of Canadian MPV sales, Kia and Mazda just won’t give up on their genuinely mini minivans.
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?
Seemingly in response to a story we published on TTAC last month on the subject of the Ford F-Series’ otherworldly dominance north of the border, Ford Canada reported yet another all-time monthly F-Series sales record in September 2016.
And as if outselling its two top rivals — combined — through the first two-thirds of 2016 wasn’t enough to clarify the degree of dominance exerted by the F-Series in Canada, the F-Series outsold the second, third, and fourth-best-selling pickup trucks — combined — in September 2016.
And the numbers get even crazier.
It seems as though you can’t turn around on the streets of Atlanta or the suburbs of Austin or the outskirts of Albuquerque without seeing a Ford F-Series pickup truck.
For 34 years running, Americans have registered more copies of the F-Series than any other pickup truck. A wide-ranging model lineup (just like its competitors) and top-selling rivals that split their sales between brands means Ford consistently and overwhelmingly sells more full-size pickup trucks than any other automobile brand in the United States. At the current rate of growth, Ford will sell more than 800,000 F-Series pickups in 2016, more than at any point since 2005.
While it’s impressive that Ford owns 30 percent of the American pickup truck market, perhaps the more daunting figure shows that 1 out of every 22 new vehicles sold in the U.S. is a Ford pickup truck.
But don’t be so easily impressed. Look northward, where the Ford F-Series is far more popular than it is in the United States.
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.
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.