The 25 top-selling premium brand cars in 2017’s surging Canadian auto market
#25: Audi A7
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -15% to 437 – More than six years since its launch, the Audi A7 is on track to fall below 2016’s sales pace in 2017 while essentially slotting in where the A7 always has: roughly between 700 and 900 annual sales. As an extension of the Audi A6 arm, the A7 produces enough volume to be meaningful, and certainly enough to be profitable.
#24: Jaguar XE
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +513% to 478 – Upon its introduction, the Jaguar XE quickly became Jaguar’s best-selling car. But that also means the Jaguar XE became Jaguar’s second-best-selling vehicle. The XE was launched at about the same time as the Jaguar F-PACE, the brand’s first SUV, which outsells the entire Jaguar car range – XE included – by 1.4-to-1 margin in Canada.
#23: Audi A6
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +3% to 561 – While the Audi brand quickly ascends the Canadian luxury sales leaderboard, about to pass BMW and quickly closing in on Mercedes-Benz, one does not look upon the Audi A6 as the cause. Mercedes-Benz’s vast E-Class network sells roughly four times more often; BMW’s 5 Series nearly 2.5 times more often. Sales of the A6 fell to a five-year low in 2016 and aren’t expected to be much more numerous in 2017.
#22: Lincoln MKZ
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +15% to 634 – After failing to live up to 2010’s mid-recession sales pace, the Lincoln brand is on track for sales to rise to at least a seven-year high in 2017. But the Lincoln MKZ won’t earn much credit for powering the brand forward, even though sales are set to rise to a three-year high in 2017. Ford Motor Company produces four out of every five Canadian Lincoln sales with utility vehicles. The MKZ, Lincoln’s top-selling car, accounts for just 13 percent of the brand’s Canadian volume.
#21: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +7% to 639 – Among Canada’s traditional full-size luxury sedan players, there is just one on this list of Canada’s 25 best-selling premium brand cars. No BMW 7 Series, no Audi A8, no Lexus LS, no Jaguar XJ. Mercedes-Benz S-Class sales could rise to a decade-high in 2017. Meanwhile, Tesla doesn’t report monthly, model-specific, Canadian sales figures, but through June, registration data from R.L. Polk suggests Tesla had sold 791 copies of the Model S this year.
#20: Porsche 911
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -6% to 645 – There are certainly more affordable premium brand sports cars. There are even more affordable Porsche sports cars. But the Porsche 911, with a base price now above $100,000, reported its best ever year of Canadian sales in 2016 and is only slightly off that pace in 2017. While passenger cars account for less than one-third of Porsche’s Canadian volume, the 911 accounts for nearly half of all Porsche Canada passenger car sales.
#19: Infiniti Q60
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +3,250% to 737 – The relaunch of Infiniti’s lone coupe is rolling along quite nicely. At the end of its tenure, the previous Infiniti Q60 – formerly known as the G35 and G37 coupe – averaged barely more than 400 sales per year. Now Infiniti is selling that many Q60s every four months.
#18: Volvo V60
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +134% to 746 – While Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class wagon still isn’t here, while BMW offers a limited 3 Series wagon family, while Audi’s lone A4 wagon is now the lifted Allroad, Volvo’s V60 wagon family is comparatively large. There’s both a V60 to tackle the 3 Series wagon and a V60 Cross Country to take the fight to the A4 Allroad. 2017 is set to be the V60’s best sales year since the model’s 2014 arrival.
#17: Lexus ES
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -10% to 1,102 – Together with the full-size LS, the Lexus ES was the sedan that put Lexus on the map. But it’s never been the force in Canada that it remains in the United States, a nine-times larger market that eats up 27 times more ESs. Nearing the end of the sixth-generation model’s tenure, the Lexus ES is on track in 2017 to fall to a six-year Canadian sales low.
#16: BMW 2 Series
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -16% to 1,132 – In 2016, for the first time since its 1 Series predecessor did so in 2009, the BMW 2 Series earned more than 2,000 Canadian sales. In 2017, it appears as though it will be increasingly difficult for the 2 Series to do so. Sales are off last year’s pace by 16 percent. BMW’s other sportier models — 4 Series and 6 Series — are likewise down 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
#15: Acura ILX
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -8% to 1,179 – The Acura ILX is an upmarket Honda Civic-based sedan. But the ILX is based on the previous-generation Civic, not the tenth-gen Civic that debuted for the 2015 model year. 2017 is set to be the ILX’s fourth consecutive year of Canadian sales decline. At the current pace, 2017’s ILX volume will be 29-percent lower than it was in 2013, the ILX’s first full year on the market.
#14: BMW 5 Series
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +14% to 1,361 – With a year-over-year doubling of sales in July, the new BMW 5 Series is set to continue its momentum through the final portion of 2017 despite the market’s turn away from traditional luxury cars. Freshness almost always helps, so after a few years of disappointing volume, look for meaningful improvement in 2017’s final figures. The 5 Series accounted for 14 percent of BMW’s car volume in July 2017, up from 8 percent in July 2016.
#13: Infiniti Q50
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -15% to 1,368 – After falling below 3,000 sales in 2016 for the first time since becoming the Infiniti Q50, Q50 sales are on track to fall significantly further in calendar year 2017. Some of the limelight has been stolen by the Infiniti Q60 coupe. We could also be seeing the result of decreased demand ahead of the Q50’s 2018 refresh. Regardless, the Q50 now ranks a distant sixth in its segment and 13th overall among premium brand cars.
#12: Cadillac ATS
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +3% to 1,379 – As Cadillac struggles in its home market, and particularly with cars such as the Cadillac ATS, Cadillac sales are soaring in the Canadian market in part because of cars such as the ATS. ATS volume jumped 53 percent in July, boosting its year-to-date total to 1,379 units, a proper sign of recovery for Cadillac’s entry-level model after sales plunged by nearly a third last year.
#11: Mercedes-Benz B-Class
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -7% to 1,469 – Progressively less popular as Mercedes-Benz began providing its clientele with similarly priced alternatives such as the CLA sedan and GLA crossover, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is now on track in 2017 for its lowest-volume full year in the nameplate’s Canadian history. The CLA and GLA combine to generate triple the Canadian volume.
#10: Audi A5
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +95% to 1,902 – With the launch of the first all-new Audi A5 since 2007, A5 sales were expected to take off. But did Audi expect such a vibrant re-launch? Through July, Audi has already sold more A5s than in all of 2015 or 2016, and 2017 is on track to smash 2013’s all-time annual sales record of 2,351 sales.
#9: Lexus IS
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +13% to 1,918 – As Toyota’s premium Lexus brand zooms toward yet another year of record annual sales, the brand achieves most of its growth with two crossovers: the NX and RX. Yet in a car lineup that’s seen sales of the CT, ES, GS, LS, and RC decline in 2017, Lexus also has a car that’s reporting year-over-year growth in 2017: the Lexus IS. 2017 is set to be the IS’s fourth consecutive year with more than 3,000 Canadian sales.
#8: BMW 4 Series
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -28% to 2,125 – As an offshoot of the 3 Series, the BMW 4 Series has proven unable to achieve the level of rebounding growth experienced by its donor car in 2017. 3 Series sales are up 15 percent after crumbling in 2016 to its first year with fewer than 8,000 Canadian sales since 2004. 4 Series sales fell 4 percent last year but are off 2016’s sales pace by 832 units in 2017.
#7: Acura TLX
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -12% to 2,173 – As Honda’s upmarket brand switches over to the thoroughly refreshed Acura TLX for the 2018 model year, hopes are set on sales improvement. The Acura brand has become hugely reliant on utility vehicles sales as the brand’s car volume persistently shrinks. Fewer than one-third of Acura’s customers choose a car, though nearly two-thirds of Acura’s car buyers do, in fact, choose the TLX.
#6: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +14% to 2,176 – Including its CLS-Class sedan offspring, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sales are on track to rise to a three-year high in 2017. The consistent leader of the midsize luxury pack, the E-Class benefits from a broad lineup: sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon, plus the aforementioned CLS and a bundle of different powertrains. The E-Class outsells its BMW 5 Series rival by a 60-percent margin in Canada.
#5: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
– July 2017 YTD Sales: -15% to 2,288 – After reporting a record 4,150 Canadian sales in 2016, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sales have taken a steep downturn in 2017 as Mercedes-Benz prepares an updated CLA for 2018. Now the brand’s second-best-selling model in Canada, the CLA is also Mercedes-Benz Canada’s least costly vehicle: $200 less than the B-Class.
#4: Audi A3
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +8% to 2,742 – At the top of the entry-luxury heap, 454 sales ahead of its chief rival from Mercedes-Benz, the Audi A3 is on track in 2017 to generate more than 4,000 Canadian sales for the first time ever. Nationwide, car sales are falling, yet the A3 joins the substantially more popular A4 in propelling Audi’s car lineup to a 26-percent year-over-year sales improvement in 2017’s first seven months.
#3: Audi A4
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +38% to 4,414 – Historically Audi Canada’s top-selling vehicle, the Audi A4 has lost that crown to the Audi Q5 crossover. But the A4 is increasingly popular. Launched last year as an all-new model, the A4 looks an awful lot like the previous A4s but obviously stands out enough to generate far greater demand. Audi averages 5,900 annual Canadian sales but is on track to produce more than 8,000 sales in 2017.
#2: BMW 3 Series
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +15% to 4,457 – By historical standards, 2017 is not going to be a great year for the sixth-generation F30 BMW 3 Series in Canada. Part of the reason goes back to a product planning decision to spin off 3 Series two-doors into the 4 Series family. Old age also plays a role. Regardless, after 3 Series sales tumbled below 8,000 units in 2016 for the first time since 2004, BMW Canada is on track to sell more than 8,500 copies of the 3er in 2017.
#1: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
– July 2017 YTD Sales: +25% to 6,823 – Canadians aren’t supposed to be buying cars anymore, or at least that’s what overall trends tell us. But the best-selling car in Canada, the Honda Civic, is on track for its best year ever. And Canada’s top-selling premium brand car, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, is expected to smash 2012’s record 10,616-unit pace with more than 12,000 sales in 2017. The C-Class is outselling the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series – its long-time rivals – by 241 units, year-to-date.
With no small amount of thanks to a handful of booming top sellers, Canada’s premium auto brands have generated a significant 10-percent year-over-year sales improvement through the first seven months of 2017.
Canadians are increasingly turning to SUVs and crossovers, and overall car sales are shrinking. But in this corner of the market, one that accounts for roughly one out of every 20 Canadian new vehicle sales, 2017’s first seven months have been rather more successful than the equivalent period one year ago.