SUVs? Sure, they're plenty popular, but Canadians still buy an average of 50,000 cars per month—these are the sale leaders
#25: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 40.5% to 825 – Mercedes-Benz CLA sales rose to a record monthly high of 472 units in January 2017, the lowest-volume month on the auto sales calendar. One of four premium brand cars, and two Mercedes-Benzes, on this list of Canada’s 25 top-selling cars, the CLA is primed to make 2017 its fourth consecutive year of growth.
#24: Ford Fusion
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 28.5% to 977 – Canada’s best-selling midsize car as recently as recently as 2014 ranks seventh heading into the third month of 2017. The bulk of 2017 remains; there’s plenty of time for the refreshed-for-2017 Fusion to come roaring back. But in Canada’s midsize segment, where buyers are rapidly disappearing, expect 2017 to be the Ford Fusion’s fourth consecutive annual downturn.
#23: Audi A4
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 165% to 988 – Presently Audi Canada’s best-selling model, a position it’s not long to hold once the second-generation Q5 takes hold, the Audi A4 has nearly tripled its January/February volume relative to 2016. Perennially the third-ranked premium brand car in Canada, the Audi A4 currently trails the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in luxury car sales.
#22: Nissan Versa
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 14.1% to 1,018 – Flipping Nissan’s recent order on its head, the Nissan Versa — available in Canada exclusively as the Note hatchback — is currently outselling the less costly Nissan Micra, a car that cannibalized the Versa on arrival. Micra sales have plunged 40 percent this year as Nissan prepares to launch a new model in global markets. The Versa, meanwhile, is presently Canada’s second-best-selling subcompact.
#21: Chevrolet Malibu
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 29.5% to 1,022 – After soaring to a six-year high in 2016, the Chevrolet Malibu remains the freshest redesign on the midsize block, but sales are nosediving along with its competitors. At the current rate of decline, Malibu volume will slide to a four-year low in 2017.
#20: Chrysler 200
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 70.2% to 1,062 – Production of the Chrysler 200 ended late last year, months after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced its discontinuation. Clearing out remaining inventory with bargain basement pricing has resulted in a year-over-year 200 uptick, but it’s obviously not one that will remain. FCA is getting out of the compact car market — the Dodge Dart’s dead, too — and the 200’s demise will mark FCA’s exit from the midsize category.
#19: BMW 3-Series
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 22.3% to 1,145 – After BMW 3-Series sales slid 40 percent between 2013 and 2016, early results in 2017 suggest a rebound. The more luxurious Mercedes-Benz C-Class has done the small BMW no favours. Plus, 3-Series sales are essentially divvied up across two nameplates now: 3-Series and 4-Series. But there’s no denying thousands of buyers have moved elsewhere. BMW has X1s and X3s and X4s to sell you, too.
#18: Hyundai Sonata
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 38.0% to 1,162 – Sales of Hyundai’s long-running Sonata tumbled 24 percent to a seven-year low in 2016. Against that backdrop, 2017 appears to be off to a much better start. Yet even at this pace Hyundai Canada is a long way from achieving the same kind of success with the Sonata that the automaker has in the past. The midsize segment is slowing rapidly, and Hyundai Sonata buyers are increasingly not Sonata buyers at all: they’re Tucson and Santa Fe Sport buyers.
#17: Kia Soul
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 0.3% to 1,194 – As Kia increasingly relies on its two crossovers for Canadian sales growth, the front-wheel-drive Soul treads the middle ground between utility vehicles and passenger cars. Kia Soul sales fell slightly last year from its 2015 peak and are essentially flat in early 2017. 16 percent of the Kias sold in Canada are Souls; the Sorento and Sportage crossovers account for another 41 percent of the brand’s volume.
#16: Honda Accord
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 17.9% to 1,354 – Set to be replaced later in 2017 with an all-new tenth-generation model, the Honda Accord is experiencing a predictable downturn. Not only is the ninth-gen Accord an older model, it’s also competing in a rapidly declining segment. Canadian sales of midsize cars are down 12 percent so far this year.
#15: Kia Forte
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 2.0% to 1,392 – Against an anti-car tide, Kia Forte sales rose to a four-year high in 2016 and are only slightly off last year’s pace in early 2017. The Forte is Kia’s top-selling passenger car and the brand’s third-best-selling model overall. Combined, the smaller Rio and larger Optima produced 1,245 sales in the first one-sixth of 2017, 147 fewer than the Forte.
#14: Hyundai Accent
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 9.5% to 1,411 – The replacement for Canada’s best-selling subcompact car, the Hyundai Accent, has already been revealed and will arrive at dealers this year. The Accent’s exerts great control over its segment, grabbing more than 30-percent market share in 2016 as subcompact sales plunged and Accent volume dipped just 1%. Segment-wide sales are down 33 percent in early 2017.
#13: Nissan Altima
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 2.1% to 1,416 – In a segment that’s falling rapidly, Nissan Altima sales are decreasing only slightly. Yet for the Altima, the 2-percent year-over-year decline through the first one-sixth of 2017 continues a long-term trend. Altima volume has decreased in nine of the last twelve years, falling by more than half between 2007 and 2016.
#12: Toyota Camry
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 29.9% to 1,468 – Canada’s best-selling midsize car in each of the last two years is on track to lead the segment for a third consecutive year in 2017 despite a massive early decline. The Toyota Camry, soon to arrive in Canada in all-new MY2018 form, is down 30 percent so far this year. Its lead over the second-ranked Nissan Altima is a narrow 52 units so far this year.
#11: Ford Focus
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 3.7% to 1,668 – After peaking in 2012 at nearly 28,000 units, the Ford Focus plunged consecutively in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, sliding 40 percent in the process. Year-to-date sales are down 4 percent in early 2017 as overall Ford car sales have fallen 15 percent. Expect a new Focus soon—consumers have deemed the current model uncompetitive.
#10: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 72.4% to 1,708 – At this stage of 2016, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was Canada’s 22nd-best-selling car. Even by the end of the year, the C-Class ranked 19th. But 2017 has been kind to Mercedes-Benz’s most popular model and the top-selling luxury brand vehicle in Canada. Year-over-year, sales are up 72%, and the C-Class leads the next-highest-ranked BMW 3-Series by 563 units already this year.
#9: Volkswagen Jetta
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 22.6% to 1,736 – Succumbing to old age even before Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal stole thousands of potential buyers, the Volkswagen Jetta tumbled 24 percent to a six-year low in 2016. Compared to the first two months of 2016, sales of the Jetta are down a further 23 percent this year, and down 57 percent compared with the first one-sixth of 2013.
#8: Subaru Impreza
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 37.0% to 1,744 – Launched in all-new form for the 2017 model year, the Subaru Impreza (including its WRX/STI offshoots) has jumped ten positions from its status at this stage of 2016. Excluding the WRX/STI, Impreza sales are up 54 percent to 1,257 units through the end of February.
#7: Nissan Sentra
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 8.4% to 1,831 – Canadian sales of the Nissan Sentra soared beyond 15,000 units in 2014, though matching that pace has proven difficult ever since. Sales in 2015 dropped marginally, and 2016 volume slipped once more. Over the last two months, year-over-year volume has decreased 8 percent, continuing a trend that’s seen Sentra volume decrease in six of the last seven months.
#6: Volkswagen Golf
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 6.6% to 2,307 – Volkswagen Golf sales exploded in Canada in 2015—it was an all-new car and Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal didn’t break until the end of the year. Not surprisingly, sales slipped slightly in 2016. But with an expanding range, including new all-wheel-drive variants and the SportWagen’s top Alltrack model, Golf volume is once again on the rise, with Volkswagen Canada trending toward a 21,000-unit result by year’s end.
#5: Chevrolet Cruze
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 21.5% to 2,671 – Despite its all-new status in 2016, the second-generation Chevrolet Cruze has hardly cruised toward an impressive result. Cruze volume fell to an all-time annual low in 2016, and now 2017 sales are set to plunge once again. Through only two months, Cruze sales are already down by more than 700 units in 2017.
#4: Mazda 3
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 9.6% to 2,994 – Hardly the kind of year-over-year recovery that will get the Mazda 3 back on track, a 10-percent uptick through the first two months nevertheless represents a meaningful turning of the tide for Mazda’s most popular car if the trend persists. Canadian sales of the 3 topped more than 50,000 units as recently as 2008 and more than 40,000 units in 2013 and 2014. Fewer than 28,000 were sold in 2016.
#3: Hyundai Elantra
– February 2017 YTD Sales: down 26.4% to 4,334 – Canada’s second-best-selling car in six consecutive years through 2016, the Hyundai Elantra currently ranks third in early 2017, well back of the Toyota Corolla. Lacking a new hatchback alternative to the Scion-iM-turned-Toyota-Corolla-iM, at least for the time being, Elantra sales have plunged while its three main rivals have all exceeded sales totals from January and February 2016.
#2: Toyota Corolla
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 27.1% to 5,996 – If the current rate of improvement holds, 2017 will be the first year since 2009 that Toyota has sold more than 50,000 Corollas. What’s changed? In part, credit the addition of a hatchback—the Corolla iM was previously the Scion iM. The iM has added 553 sales to the Corolla’s ledger. But in an anti-car market, Corolla sedan sales are also up 15 percent to 5,443 units so far this year.
#1: Honda Civic
– February 2017 YTD Sales: up 10.3% to 7,251 – Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years is already 1,255 sales ahead of its next-best-selling competitor, and we’re only two months into 2017. This means that the Toyota Corolla needs to outsell the Honda Civic by an average of 126 sales per month over the remainder of the calendar in order to break the Civic’s sales streak. Yet in the two lowest-volume months on the calendar, the Civic outsold the Corolla by an average of 628 sales per month.
Through the first two months of 2017, Canadian sales of passenger cars have fallen 4 percent as SUVs and crossovers continue to pick up steam. Cars now account for only 30% of Canadian new vehicle sales, down from 52 percent a decade ago.
But there are still a large number of hugely popular cars, downright common passenger cars, led by the same car that’s been Canada’s top-selling car in each of the last 19 years.