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.
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.
Honda Shuffles the North American Deck as Top Execs Retire
Captain of industry John Mendel is retiring as the executive vice president of American Honda’s sales division this April, following ten years of service to the company. Mendel is probably best-known for ensuring that Honda and Acura’s marketing and sales focus remained on North America’s retail markets, not fleets.
Also retiring this spring is Honda Canada’s current president and 42-year company veteran, Jerry Chenkin. Filling the vacuum created in Chenkin’s absence is Dave Gardner, currently senior vice president and future president. Gardner will assume the role of president and provide direct oversight for the automotive and motorcycle divisions, power equipment, ATV, and small engine businesses.
Front Struts In Our Long-Term 2015 Honda Odyssey Failed At 11,000 Miles
Update: Added statement from Honda Canada
Surely part of the reasoning behind a minivan buyer’s decision to end up with a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna relates to reliability reputations. For most buyers in most trade-in situations, a similarly equipped Dodge Grand Caravan will cost a lot less. But the belief that the Odyssey or Sienna will be more reliable over a longer period of time supports the idea of spending more on the Honda or Toyota.
In our relatively short-term leasing case, reliability wasn’t a top concern, and we weren’t spending extra to acquire reliability anyway. (Because of trade-in issues, local Chrysler dealers wouldn’t play ball, not that we were desperate for them to do so.) And truthfully, there are other reasons a minivan buyer may choose an Odyssey or Sienna over a Grand Caravan: an eighth seat, greater space, more comfortable seats, exterior styling, unique feature content, or any number of things.
For our long-termer, we wanted a minivan that drove more like an Accord than a minivan. There was one option. 14 months later, our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX has spent three unscheduled days at the dealer and has by no means been a picture of reliability.
Stranded on the side of the road? No, not yet. But the front struts failed at 11,000 miles.
My Neighborhood is #CivicNation, And It Isn't An Anomaly
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.
The Honda CR-Z Is Officially Dead In Canada
2016 will be the final model year for the extraordinarily slow-selling Honda CR-Z in Canada. Honda Canada spokesperson Maki Inoue confirmed that the CR-Z is done, indirectly supplanted in Honda Canada’s lineup by the reborn Honda Accord Hybrid.
“As Honda aligns its product portfolio to best take advantage of growth opportunities in the marketplace, it will add a new Accord Hybrid, and discontinue CR-Z this year,” Inoue told GoodCarBadCar earlier this afternoon.
Of course, we knew the CR-Z was done for. Separate articles on TTAC earlier today made mention of an American Honda spokesperson’s impression that the CR-Z was already dead and the glut of CR-Z inventory of which Honda dealers must now rid themselves.