Mustang versus Camaro, Ram versus F-150—who's coming out the winner this year so far in these and other contests?
Toyota Corolla vs. Honda Civic
One is the world’s best-selling passenger car nameplate. The other has been Canada’s best-selling car for 19 consecutive years. Both are producing significant sales growth in Canada despite the market’s anti-car fervour. Which compact car is winning?
Winner: Honda Civic
Canadian sales of the Honda Civic are up 14 percent to 43,759 through 2017’s first seven months, more than 11,000 sales ahead of the Toyota Corolla. On the plus side for Toyota, the Corolla now appears likely to end 2017 as Canada’s second-ranked car for the first time since 2009.
Ford Mustang vs. Chevrolet Camaro
Both cars are now firmly entrenched in their sixth iterations, the latest Ford Mustang having gone on sale for 2015 and the new Chevrolet Camaro one year later. But in this age-old battle of American muscle coupes, one car is consistently far more successful in Canada than the other—which one?
Winner: Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang sales are up 12 percent to 6,277 units in the first seven months of 2017, placing the Mustang on track for its best year of Canadian sales since 2006. Camaro sales, meanwhile, are also rising, but the 18-percent uptick to 2,091 sales places the Chevrolet well back of the Mustang, and 437 sales back of the Dodge Challenger, as well.
Kia Rondo vs. Mazda 5
They arrived almost in perfect unison, the Mazda 5 in 2005; the Kia Rondo in 2006. Surely Canadians were interested in compact people-carriers with superior fuel efficiency and lower MSRPs. Well, somewhat. Sales have plunged over time, even as the Rondo was replaced with an all-new version. Through 2017’s first seven months, the duo has combined for only 2,041 sales. But which compact minivan earns the lion’s share of those sales?
Winner: Mazda 5
Canadian sales of the Mazda 5, while nowhere near as numerous as they were a decade ago, are up 67 percent in 2017 to 1,589 total units. Rondo volume, on the other hand, has plunged 67 percent this year to only 452 sales. A decade ago, Kia Canada averaged over 800 Rondo sales per month.
Chevrolet Bolt vs. Chevrolet Volt
They’re not exactly in opposition of one another. Both the Bolt and Volt are Chevrolets. Both major on electric power. Both are available in limited quantities in Canada, with the Bolt’s markets limited, as well. But which do Canadians choose: full electric power in the Chevrolet Bolt or electric power with a range-extending gas engine in the Chevrolet Volt?
Winner: Chevrolet Volt
Overwhelmingly, the more broadly available Volt is the more popular car. Canadian sales are up by a third to 2,229 units this year—2017 is almost assuredly going to be the Volt’s best-ever-year. In its first few months of Canadian availability in limited corners of the country, Chevrolet has reported 983 sales of the Bolt.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs. BMW 3 Series
Historically, the BMW 3 Series was Canada’s best-selling luxury vehicle. But as SUVs/crossovers began to make headway and BMW split the 3 Series lineup into two parts – with coupes operating under the 4 Series banner – the 3 Series’ hold on premium leadership became tenuous. In 2017, is the 3 Series holding on or is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, its rival compatriot, the luxury leader?
Winner: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sales are soaring, rising 25 percent to 6,823 units in the first seven months of 2017 despite decreased interest in cars. BMW 3 Series sales fell below 8,000 units in 2016 for the first time since 2004 but are up 15 percent to 4,457 units this year. Combined, BMW has sold 6,582 copies of the 3 Series and 4 Series so far in 2017.
Mazda CX-3 vs. Honda HR-V
They are not the oldest subcompact crossovers on the market. The Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman and Chevrolet Trax, for example, all hopped on the bandwagon before the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. But the HR-V and CX-3 are the segment sales leaders. Which small Japanese-branded utility vehicle is the true leader?
Winner: Honda HR-V
Honda HR-V sales are up 47 percent to 9,580 units so far this year, and it’s quickly becoming not just the subcompact leader but one of the highest-selling utility vehicles in Canada. Mazda CX-3 sales are rising, as well, but the 4-percent uptick to 5,800 units falls far short of Honda’s class dominator.
Fiat 124 Spider vs. Mazda MX-5 Miata
Two affordable roadsters with different hearts and different skins are still two very similar roadsters. FCA adopted the Mazda MX-5’s underpinnings in order to build the Fiat 124 Spider. But does the interloper have what it takes to outsell the nearly 30-year-old standard bearer?
Winner: Mazda MX-5 Miata
It’s not even close. 1,447 of these convertibles have been sold in Canada through the first seven months of 2017. 65 percent were Mazda MX-5 Miatas, sales of which rose 29 percent to 943 units. Fiat sold 504 124 Spiders during the same period.
Ram P/U vs. Ford F-Series
As Canada’s pickup truck market continues to boom, with sales rising 14 percent so far this year as pickups claim 21 percent of the market, the two leaders of the pack are, not surprisingly, on the rise, as well. Granted, General Motors relies on two pickup trucks – Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins – to outsell the Ram range. But Ford and Ram sit atop the leaderboard. In which order?
Winner: Ford F-Series
Even as Ram’s P/U lineup, led by the light-duty 1500, surges toward a record year of sales with a 12-percent rise to 64,913 sales in the first seven months of 2017, the Ford F-Series is a distant first-place competitor. Ford has already sold 92,651 F-150s and Super Dutys in 2017, and the F-Series (up 8 percent to date) is on track for a record year with more than 150,000 total sales.
Cadillac Escalade vs. Lincoln Navigator
There were luxury SUVs long before the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade jumped into the game. But the Navigator and Escalade changed the game, earning big dollars with surprisingly high volumes and lofty profit margins for Ford Motor Company and General Motors. Based on common pickup truck platforms, which American body-on-frame full-size SUV sells best in Canada?
Winner: Cadillac Escalade
By a wide margin, the fourth-generation Cadillac Escalade is more popular than the third-generation Lincoln Navigator, which won’t be replaced in dealers until next year. Navigator sales are up 35 percent this year, but at only 396 units, it trails the Escalade (up 5 percent to 1,522 sales) by 1,126 units so far this year.
Toyota RAV4 vs. Honda CR-V
After claiming the overall Canadian SUV/crossover sales crown in 2016, what does Toyota’s RAV4 have left in the tank for 2017? The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle five years running, is all-new for 2017, and other new competitors want to eat into the RAV4’s slice of the pie. Which Canadian-built compact crossover leads all utility vehicles in Canada sales in 2017’s first seven months?
Winner: Toyota RAV4
With help from 3,811 sales from the Japanese-built Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the RAV4 outsold the Honda CR-V by 1,613 units in the first six-tenths of 2017. CR-V volume is up 12 percent to 27,970, a record pace. But total RAV4 volume rose 2 percent to 29,583 sales.
Kia Niro vs. Toyota Prius
There always seems to be a new top notch rival for the Toyota Prius. First there was the Honda Insight, now discontinued. Then Detroit’s hopes rested on the shoulders of the Ford C-Max. The latest alternatives come from Korea in the form of the Hyundai Ioniq and the wannabe crossover, Kia’s more popular Niro. But can the Kia Niro really measure up to the Canadian sales success of the Toyota Prius?
Winner: Toyota Prius
Neither car is a particularly high-volume vehicle, but the Toyota Prius (sans C and V) is up 30 percent to 2,043 sales so far this year. Launched in late winter, the Kia Niro produced 771 sales in the first seven months of 2017, though over the last four months Kia has averaged 170 Niro sales, having sold few copies in its first two months on the market.
Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
Sometimes two heads are better than one. In Canada’s midsize pickup truck arena, there are five nameplates: Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline, and a tag team from General Motors, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. The Toyota Tacoma is undeniably the sales leader of the five-strong midsize pack, but is General Motors’ approach a Tacoma-conquering success?
Through the first seven months of 2017, Toyota Tacoma sales are down 6 percent to 7,362 units as Toyota attempts to find ways to improve production levels for the in-demand Tacoma. Individually, the Colorado and Canyon don’t measure up. As a duo, their sales are up 20 percent to 7,765 units, narrowly besting the Tacoma.
Toyota Camry vs. Honda Accord
2017 is a year of great transition for Canada’s two best-selling midsize cars. The segment is shrinking, but the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry is reaching dealers now and the all-new 2018 Honda Accord is about to. In the meantime, as the old models clear out, which midsize stalwart is the Canadian sales leader?
Winner: Honda Accord
For the moment, it’s the Honda Accord, sales of which are up 5 percent to 8,832 units through 2017’s first seven months. That knocks the Toyota Camry, down 25 percent to 7,793 units, into second place after two consecutive years of midsize sedan sales leadership.
They are the Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal matchups of the modern automotive universe. Mustang versus Camaro is only the beginning. In Canada’s booming auto industry, the first seven months of 2017 have revealed a level of intense competitiveness the likes of which the Canadian market has never seen.
Automakers are fighting over 175,000 sales each month, with nobody willing to lose market share and everybody wanting to make gains. In the midst of the larger fight are these model-by-model challenges, the most heated one-on-one battles in Canada’s auto sphere in 2017.