These are the most popular vehicles in Canada that come from across the Atlantic and Pacific
#25: Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 84.5% to 1,116 – Although we identify Mercedes-Benz as a German maker of luxury vehicles, many of the Mercedes-Benzes sold in Canada are built in the United States. The GLE-Class and C-Class, Mercedes-Benz Canada’s two best-selling models, are built in Alabama. So is the big GL-Class. The entry-level Mercedes-Benz GLA? It’s Mercedes-Benz Canada’s best-selling import.
#24: Jeep Renegade
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 111,800% to 1,119 – Toledo, Ohio, is the home of the iconic Jeep Wrangler. But the Jeep which shares a platform with the Fiat 500X, this Jeep Renegade, is assembled in Melfi, Italy. 2,824 Renegades have been sold in Canada in the last year. Although the U.S. market for SUVs/crossovers is only about nine times larger than Canada’s, Renegade volume south of the border is 30 times stronger than it is in Canada.
#23: BMW 4-Series
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 22.5% to 1,133 – The BMW 4-Series, which includes both a four-door liftback as well as body styles which formerly operated under the 3-Series banner, now contrasts sharply with the 3-Series on which it’s based. 3-Series sales are plunging, falling by 571 units over just three months in early 2016. 4-Series volume, on the other hand, has grown by 208 units after growing 42 percent over the course of calendar year 2015.
#22: Lexus NX
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 8.3% to 1,169 – Launched at the tail end of 2014, the Lexus NX quickly became Toyota Canada’s second-best-selling Lexus model. Only the RX, built in Cambridge, Ontario, forms a larger portion of Lexus’ sales in Canada. Together, these two crossovers account for nearly two-thirds of the brand’s sales and rank second and sixth among premium brand utility vehicles.
#21: Toyota RAV4
– 2016 Q1 Sales: 1,193 – Just over one out of every ten copies of the best-selling utility vehicle in Canada – 2015’s runner-up – are built in Japan, rather than the RAV4’s plant in Woodstock, Ontario. These are Toyota RAV4 Hybrids, which will be built in Canada in next-gen form. Sales of Canadian-built RAV4s are up two percent to 8,396 units through the first three months of 2016.
#20: Mitsubishi Outlander
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 24.7% to 1,307 – More than three-quarters of Mitsubishi’s Canadian sales are produced by models built on the other side of the Pacific, including the Thailand-assembled Mirage. Along with the Lancer sedan, the flagship Mitsubishi Outlander forms the bulk of those imports. At the current pace, Mitsubishi is on track for sales of the Outlander to rise to a six-year high in 2016.
#19: Toyota Yaris Hatchback
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 8.7% to 1,420 – The Canadian Toyota Yaris lineup is a two-pronged lineup. The much lower-volume Yaris sedan is a Mexican-built version of the latest Mazda 2, a car which isn’t sold in Canada and is marketed (temporarily) as a Scion iA in the United States. The Toyota Yaris hatchback, on the other hand, is imported from France. Total Yaris sales are up eight percent to 1,673 units so far this year.
#18: BMW 3-Series
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 28.6% to 1,277 – Historically, the BMW 3-Series is the dominant luxury vehicle in Canada. But in 2015, as sales of the 3-Series fell five percent, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class jumped 42 percent to grab top honours. This year, sales of the Alabama-built C-Class are plunging, but the 3-Series is falling even harder. The BMW is 453 sales behind with nine months remaining on the calendar.
#17: Audi Q5
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 9.7% to 1,503 – Canada’s top-selling premium brand SUV/crossover in 2015 ranks third in the category through the first three months of 2016. But Audi Q5 sales do continue to rise, and it continues to be Audi Canada’s most important model. More than one-quarter of Audi’s Canadian volume is Q5-derived. The Q3, Q5, and Q7 collectively produced nearly six out of every ten Canadian Audi sales in the first-quarter of 2016.
#16: Toyota 4Runner
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 43.3% to 1,505 – New vehicle nameplates come and go, but the Toyota 4Runner is now in its fourth decade as a rugged, somewhat premium-priced traditional body-on-frame SUV. 2016 is set to be the 4Runner’s fifth consecutive year of Canadian sales growth. Toyota averaged approximately 2,000 annual 4Runner sales between 2005 and 2012, but 4Runner volume could crest the 8,000-unit mark in 2016.
#15: Mitsubishi Lancer
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 50.9% to 1,660 – There’s no denying that the Mitsubishi Lancer is largely perceived as an afterthought in Canada’s compact car category. So far this year, the Lancer ranks 12th in the category. Yet despite its old age, Lancer volume is much healthier in the early part of 2016 than it was at this time last year. A 51-percent year-over-year three-month Lancer gain equals 560 additional sales for Mitsubishi dealers, where total sales are up 24 percent this year.
#14: Kia Rio
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 27.6% to 1,711 – In 2013, the Kia Rio was Canada’s second-best-selling subcompact. Record sales of more than 15,000 units caused the Rio to outsell all rivals save for its Hyundai platform partner, the Accent. But Kia is on track for fewer than 7,000 Rio sales in 2016 as Canada’s subcompact category plunged 20 percent in the first-quarter.
#13: Subaru Crosstrek
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 19.1% to 1,829 – Sales of the Subaru Crosstrek, formerly known as the XV Crosstrek, have increased in 13 consecutive months and grew by 19 percent in 2016’s first three months. That’s an important gain for Subaru Canada, as all non-Crosstrek models combined for a one-percent loss in the first-quarter. While sales at capacity-limited Subaru are actually growing far slower than the industry as a whole, the brand’s two-percent year-over-year uptick is meaningful. Subaru is attempting to make 2016 the ninth year in the last decade in which Canadian sales expanded.
#12: Kia Sportage
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 72.6% to 1,836 – Now launching in fourth-generation form, the oft-overlooked smaller Kia crossover’s sales are growing rapidly, year-over-year. Sales of the Kia Sportage peaked in 2012, but the Sportage is always easily outsold by its Hyundai platform-partner, the newer Tucson, including a 2.5-to-1 deficit last year. That margin will likely shrink in 2016.
#11: Hyundai Santa Fe XL
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 39.0% to 1,863 – Hyundai’s regular-wheelbase, exclusively four-cylinder, two-row Santa Fe Sport is assembled in the United States. But this longer, three-row, V6-powered Hyundai Santa Fe XL is a Korean import. March, with 1,187 Hyundai Santa Fe XL sales, was the model’s best month ever. Year-over-year, Santa Fe XL volume has also improved in 13 of the last 14 months.
#10: Mazda CX-3
– 2016 Q1 Sales: 2,017 – In 2016’s first three months, the one-year-old Mazda CX-3 is just 14 sales shy of claiming leadership of the Canadian subcompact crossover sector. Mazda Canada is averaging more than 800 monthly CX-3 sales. Mazda’s previous subcompact, the more conventional 2 hatchback, averaged fewer than 430 monthly sales during its first four full years.
#9: Kia Soul
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 16.6% to 2,059 – After three sub-10K years, Kia Canada exploded with more than 13,000 Kia Soul sales in 2015. Matching that pace in 2016 is proving difficult. Through 2016’s first three months, Kia’s Canadian dealer network delivered 411 fewer Souls than during the same period one year ago.
#8: Subaru Impreza
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 0.2% to 2,162 – Combined sales of the Subaru Impreza and WRX/STI are down ever so slightly in early 2016, though the performance-oriented portion of the duo continues to climb quickly. WRX/STI sales are up 43 percent to 786 units through the first three months of 2016. The core Impreza sedan and hatch are down 15 percent to 1,376 units.
#7: Volkswagen Tiguan
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 7.0% to 2,260 – Seven years after its 2008 launch, Canadian sales of the Volkswagen Tiguan climbed to record levels in 2015. With double the volume the Tiguan managed just three years prior, the aging Tiguan flew in the face of the reality that most vehicles face—that old age is no friend. The Volkswagen brand is now scandal-wracked, and the second-gen Tiguan has already been revealed. Thus, the German-built Tiguan’s sales are down seven percent in early 2016.
#6: Kia Forte
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 40.2% to 2,468 – The overwhelming majority of Kia’s Canadian sales are produced by models built in Korea, just as most Kia models are built overseas. The Sorento, Kia’s best-selling model, is an exception. Unlike the Sorento, sales of which declined sharply in 2016’s first-quarter despite healthy utility vehicle sales, Canadian sales of the Kia Forte are up 40 percent since the beginning of the year. If Kia Canada can maintain this rate of growth, 2016 will be the best year in the nameplate’s history, four years removed the Forte’s peak in 2012.
#5: Subaru Forester
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 10.4% to 2,573 – South of the border, the Subaru Forester is America’s top-selling imported vehicle. In Canada, Forester sales are on track for a fourth consecutive year of growth following record output in 2015. The Forester, Subaru Canada’s best-selling nameplate, ranks 17th among SUVs/crossovers overall.
#4: Hyundai Accent
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 12.2% to 2,827 – Canadian sales of subcompact cars tumbled 20 percent in the first-quarter of 2016. The class-leading Hyundai Accent’s 12-percent decline, therefore, is not, by one measure, all that bad. By the standards of a booming auto industry, however, the decreases reported by the Accent and most of its cohorts are noteworthy.
#3: Hyundai Tucson
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 25.0% to 4,331 – Hyundai Canada reported record annual Tucson sales in calendar year 2015. Hyundai is on pace to smash that record in 2016. The Hyundai Tucson is now Canada’s ninth-best-selling utility vehicle overall, up from 14th in the sector two years ago.
#2: Hyundai Elantra
– 2016 Q1 Sales: down 6.3% to 4,496 – Overall, Canadian Hyundai Elantra volume is up 21 percent to 11,578 units in 2016, enough to make the Elantra Canada’s second-best-selling car. But only the Elantra GT hatchback and the other Elantra’s upper-trim levels are imported from Korea. The less costly Elantras are built in Montgomery, Alabama.
#1: Mazda CX-5
– 2016 Q1 Sales: up 10.4% to 4,851 – Through the first three months of 2016, the Mazda CX-5 is Canada’s seventh-best-selling SUV/crossover. As Mazda’s car volume rapidly decreases – the 2, 3, 6, and MX-5 are down 34 percent in early 2016 – the CX-5 is also increasingly important in Mazda showrooms. 31 percent of the Mazdas sold in Canada in 2015’s first-quarter were CX-5s. That figure rose to 36 percent in 2016’s first-quarter.
Nearly eight out of every ten new vehicles sold in Canada are built in the NAFTA zone: Canada, United States, Mexico. But that doesn’t mean many truly imported vehicles aren’t hugely popular in Canada.
“Import” doesn’t mean what it used to, not now that Canada’s 18-time best-selling car, the Honda Civic, is established as a Canadian-made car. Canada’s two top-selling utility vehicles are both built in southern Ontario, as well, and they both wear Japanese badges. Canada’s top-selling German cars are built in Mexico and the most popular European luxury car is assembled in Alabama.
Import, for the purposes of this list, means cars that genuinely come from abroad, vehicles that are shipped to Canada having been built on the other sides of two oceans.
Source: Automotive News Data Center