Cars are disappearing, right? Not all of ’em. These 22 cars are on the up and up.
#22: Toyota Camry
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +3% to 4,343 – In Canada’s midsize segment, the story in the second half of 2017 was the launch of the two best-selling midsize cars: Camry and Accord. Through the first one-third of 2018, sales of the Camry are up, albeit marginally. Accord volume, on the other hand, is down 8 percent year-over-year.
#21: Ford Focus
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +3% to 3,949 – Ford has already announced that the next-generation Focus won’t make it to Canada, as demand for such products is shrinking, particularly at automakers that were already uncompetitive. Focus sales in 2018 are healthier than they were in 2017, but volume is still half as strong now as it was in 2012.
#20: Chrysler 300
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +5% to 1,569 – Full-size volume brand sedan sales are a fraction of what they once were, but a handful of these cars are actually selling a bit better in 2018 than they did last year. Canadian sales of the Chrysler 300 are up 5 percent in 2018, a pace that puts the big Chrysler on track for a five-year high.
#19: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +5% to 1,226 – Including the low-volume CLS-Class, Canadian sales of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class are on the rise. As the traditional leader in the midsize luxury segment, the E-Class is currently outselling the BMW 5 Series by a 74-percent margin. 2018 is on track to be the best year for E-Class sales since 2012.
#18: Toyota Yaris
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +5% to 1,772 – With help from the Yaris sedan, which is essentially the latest Mazda 2 that was never sold in Canada, the Toyota Yaris is not one of Canada’s most popular subcompact cars. But in an age of shrinking subcompact market share, the Toyota Yaris is unusual due to a 5-percent year-to-date improvement.
#17: BMW 2 Series
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +8% to 593 – As the 3 Series and 4 Series become progressively less ultimate in the purely subjective Driving Machine continuum, the BMW 2 Series fills the void as BMW’s semi-affordable sporting car. After a sales slide in 2017, BMW is now on track for the best year since the 2 Series was the 1 Series.
#16: BMW 5 Series
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +11% to 704 – The arrival of a new BMW 5 Series was once a big deal in the auto world. The launch of a new 5 Series for 2017 was, well, not so much of a big deal. The bulk of BMW’s clientele doesn’t come from its mid-range car but rather from its mid-range SUVs. Nevertheless, 5 Series sales are trending toward making 2018 the best year of Canadian sales since 2011.
#15: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +15% to 433 – You’re thinking of acquiring a new full-size luxury sedan. Almost by default, you’re therefore thinking of acquiring a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the all-but-mandatory choice in the segment. Consider that the S-Class’s chief rival, the BMW 7 Series, is down 14 percent to 155 sales so far this year, about a third of the volume the big Benz achieves.
#14: Chevrolet Spark
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +17% to 1,204 – If you remember hearing the first-generation Spark was something of a penalty box, don’t apply those same beliefs to the second-generation Spark, which is far more popular for a reason. Surprisingly refined and well-equipped, the Chevrolet Spark is on pace for a record of nearly 5,000 sales in Canada in 2018.
#13: Acura TLX
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +18% to 1,341 – Revamped for the 2018 model year, largely with altered styling but also a more aggressive new A-Spec variant, the Acura TLX is still not a headline maker. But in an Acura lineup that relies heavily on SUV sales, progress on the car front is noteworthy. Seven out of every ten cars sold in Acura showrooms are TLXs.
#12: Mazda 6
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +19% to 903 – In challenging times for the midsize sedan segment, the Mazda 6 is helped by the launch (finally) of a Mazda 6 with an optional engine upgrade. It’s the 2.5 turbo from the flagship CX-9, and together with rejigged styling, the new 6 is making modest market share headway.
#11: Volkswagen Golf
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +23% to 7,440 – The rapid growth Volkswagen Canada is reporting in early 2018 sales of its global leader, the Golf, is a continuation of what Volkswagen achieved in 2017. Sales last year of the large Golf lineup were 90-percent stronger than they were only three years prior. The Golf is now Canada’s sixth-best-selling car. It ranked 16th in 2014.
#10: Volkswagen Passat
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +24% to 1,328 – There’s no denying the decline of midsize sedans. Even critically acclaimed, all-new variants such as the Honda Accord are in decline. After tumbling by roughly half between 2012 and 2017, Passat sales appear to be on the rise in early 2018. But keep in mind, Volkswagen sold more than 8,000 Passats in 2012, and even with a significant year-over-year improvement compared with early 2017, Volkswagen is on track for around 5,000 in 2018.
#9: Ford Mustang
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +28% to 2,993 – Its competitors are falling off, but while the Camaro and Challenger fade, Ford Mustang sales are booming. Not since 2005 has Ford Canada sold more than 10,000 Mustangs in a single calendar year. But if the current growth rate continues, Ford could sell nearly 11,000 in 2018.
#8: Chevrolet Volt
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +28% to 1,601 – Although sales of its pure EV sibling, the Chevrolet Bolt, are actually rising even faster than sales of the Chevrolet Volt, Canadians are still taking to the plug-in hybrid Volt in far greater numbers. In fact, Volt sales are more than twice as strong as Bolt volume, and the Volt is on track for its best year since launching in late 2011.
#7: BMW 4 Series
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +35% to 1,410 – While Canadian demand for the BMW 3 Series continues to drop, falling 11 percent through the first four months of 2018, Canadian sales of the 3 Series’ 4 Series offspring is quickly rising. So far this year, BMW Canada has averaged 472 3 Series sales per month; 353 4 Series sales per month. Together, they account for 27 percent of BMW Canada’s sales, still significantly more than any one of BMW’s SUVs.
#6: Chevrolet Bolt
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +41% to 732 – All-electric transportation isn’t catching up, but it’s beginning to catch on in some corners of the country, particularly where tax incentives dramatically reduce the cost. The Chevrolet Bolt is reaping the rewards, and with over 300 kilometres per charge, it’s not hard to see why the Bolt stands a better chance than any affordable electric before it to capture a meaningful percentage of the green car market.
#5: Infiniti Q50
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +45% to 1,005 – Its predecessor, the G35, was the car that brought Infiniti back from the brink. After a sales collapse between 2015 and 2017, the Infiniti Q50 is now bringing itself back from the brink, with a 45-percent year-over-year gain in early 2018. Yet while the original G35 did much of the work for the entire Infiniti brand, the Q50 is now part of a lineup that generates 71 percent of its volume from SUVs/crossovers.
#4: Honda Fit
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +54% to 1,777 – Following the trends of the Canadian subcompact car market, Honda Fit sales tanked in 2017, falling 42 percent from already-low totals in 2016. There’s recovery in 2018, no doubt, but Honda Canada’s current Fit sales pace suggests only 7,700 Fits will be sold this year. Honda sold nearly 12,000 Fits in 2014.
#3: Kia Rio
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +56% to 2,011 – In a shrinking subcompact car segment, it helps to be the newest kid on the block. The fourth-generation Kia Rio has unique appeal to Canadians, with standard heated seats and a heated steering wheel at an advertised base price below $15,000.
#2: Porsche 911
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +88% to 414 – Sports cars aren’t dead. The Porsche 911, perhaps one of, if not the most famous sports car of all time, set an all-time Canadian sales record (1,234) in 2017 and is on track to absolutely smash that record in 2018.
#1: Toyota Prius
– April 2018 YTD Sales: +91% to 1,556 – Is it surprising that with rapidly rising fuel prices, the better-than-ever fourth-gen Toyota Prius is growing faster than any other passenger car model in Canada? Prius sales (these figures don’t include the Prius C and V) rose to an eight-year high in 2017 and are on track to crush the all-time Canadian Prius sales record, set in 2009, by the end of 2018.
Canadian demand for the “car,” as we once knew it, is drying up. Although big announcements by companies such as Ford Motor Company are bringing the story into the mainstream, this is not a sudden development. Passenger cars haven’t accounted for the majority of Canadian new vehicle sales since 2009, not more than 40 percent since 2014, and in early 2018 form just 29 percent of the market.
Through the first four months of 2018, car sales are down 10 percent in an overall auto market that’s growing, albeit marginally, toward another record year. Yet there are cars that are selling more often in 2018 than they did in 2017. In fact, some are selling way more often.
To gauge the fastest-growing, we looked only at vehicles that attract an average of at least 100 buyers per month.