In a booming Canadian auto industry, these 18 brands are growing most quickly
#18: Toyota: +2%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +2% to 23,258 – Canada’s second-best-selling auto brand overall, Toyota generates the bulk of its sales from the Corolla and RAV4. But in early 2018, Corolla sales have tumbled 13 percent and sales of the RAV4, Canada’s top-selling utility vehicle in 2017, have ticked up only slightly. As a result, Toyota ranks only 18th on this list of Canada’s fastest-growing auto brands.
#17: Land Rover: +3%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +3% to 1,206 – Only by the most modest of margins, merely five extra units, 2017 was the Land Rover brand’s eighth consecutive year of annual Canadian sales growth. But after that year of great transition, with the LR4-replacing Discovery and new Range Rover Velar launching, Land Rover is poised for more significant improvement in the booming luxury SUV sphere.
#16: Nissan: +4%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +4% to 16,999 – Between 2012 and 2017, Canadian sales at the Nissan brand shot forward 81 percent, massive growth for a brand that wasn’t far removed from stagnation, decline, and near demise. With 4 percent growth in early 2018 fuelled by the popular new Qashqai and pickup truck expansion, Nissan is primed to report its sixth consecutive year of record volume.
#15: Mazda: +6%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +6% to 9,027 – From 2007 to 2016, Mazda’s Canadian volume tumbled by a fifth, including noteworthy declines in years that saw overall Canadian auto sales soar. 2017 marked a real turnaround, thanks largely to strong CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 sales, although the brand is not yet back to those pre-recession levels. Mazda sold 86,659 vehicles in 2007 and is on track for 78,500 sales in 2018.
#14: Porsche: +7%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +7% to 828 – Booming sales of Porsche’s most affordable SUV, the Macan, went together in 2017 with the rapid rise of Porsche’s iconic sports car, the 911. Porsche set a brand-wide record in 2017, but also a record in terms of 911 volume, as well. Through the first one-sixth of 2018, Porsche sales are up 7 percent largely because of car growth, including a 116-percent increase in sales of the 911.
#13: Mini: +9%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +9% to 701 – Despite sliding sales of the standard Mini Cooper lineup and its Clubman spinoff, Mini sales are growing in early 2018 because of the Countryman. Essentially on hiatus in between generations at this time a year ago, Mini Countryman sales have grown by 219 units to 226 so far this year.
#12: Infiniti: +9%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +9% to 1,650 – Along with steadily growing sales of its parent Nissan brand, the upmarket Infiniti brand is also routinely reporting record Canadian sales. That trend, which resulted in records in each of the last five years, is continuing with a 9-percent increase through 2018’s first two months. Big increases from Nissan’s most costly SUVs, along with a doubling of Q50 sales, has counteracted sliding sales of Nissan’s QX30, QX50, and QX60.
#11: BMW: +10%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +10% to 5,147 – BMW’s Canadian volume ticked up only slightly in 2017 despite huge advances made across much of the premium sector. But that still represented a record 38,562 total sales for BMW Canada, and because of booming sales of the X1 and new X3, BMW volume is up 10 percent in early 2018.
#10: Subaru: +12%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +12% to 6,475 – Between 2008 and 2014, Subaru Canada more than doubled its Canadian sales. With strong sales in most corners of its lineup, particularly with the Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback, Subaru’s Canadian sales in 2018 are on track to be 45-percent stronger than they were in 2014.
#9: Mitsubishi: +15%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +15% to 2,922 – As the Eclipse Cross arrives, and oddly sits right on top of the RVR in Mitsubishi’s lineup, the small Japanese automaker also begins selling the plug-in Outlander. Indeed, Mitsubishi is selling plenty of Outlander PHEVs – nearly a third of total Outlanders in early 2018. Mitsubishi’s utility vehicle sales are up 43 percent so far this year, though car volume is down by nearly a third.
#8: Honda: +16%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +16% to 22,674 – Firmly positioned on the podium, Honda is Canada’s third-best-selling auto brand. It helps to be selling the best-selling car – the Civic has led Canadian passenger car sales in 20 consecutive years. But in early 2018, the Honda CR-V has also been Canada’s best-selling SUV/crossover, outselling the Toyota RAV4 by a 25-percent margin.
#7: Audi: +16%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +16% to 4,532 – If you thought last year’s surprisingly tight race for second place among premium brands was an anomaly, pay attention to the Audi/BMW sales race in 2018. Audi currently trails BMW by roughly 300 monthly sales, a quickly-closing gap after BMW outsold Audi by more than 900 monthly sales only half a decade ago. The main reason for Audi’s more significant year-over-year growth? The Audi Q5 is Canada’s favourite luxury utility vehicle, and Q5 volume is up 72 percent this year.
#6: Chevrolet: +23%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +23% to to 21,146 – Now ranked fourth among Canadian auto brands, Chevrolet earns an inordinately high percentage of sales (34 percent) from pickup trucks. Yet those pickup trucks, the Colorado and Silverado, are up 58 percent and 6 percent, respectively, year-over-year. It so happens in 2018, however, that Chevrolet’s car volume is up 38 percent through the end of February.
#5: Genesis: +30%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +30% to 60 – Hardly a tangible increase across great swathes of the country where Hyundai’s Genesis spin-off doesn’t even have dealers, the 14-unit increase for Genesis Motors nevertheless translates to a 30-percent uptick for the fledgling premium brand. Genesis sold 52 G80s in the first two months of 2018 along with 8 G90s. The more affordable G70 goes on sale shortly.
#4: Jeep: +36%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +36% to 13,708 – 2017 won’t go down in the record books as a year to remember for Jeep, which followed up record Canadian sales in 2016 with a 15-percent nosedive in 2017. With the new Wrangler taking off and the Compass finally taking off, Jeep is back in black. If this sort of year-over-year growth continues throughout the remaining 10 months of 2018, Jeep will sell more than 95,000 SUVs this year, far in excess of the 83,086-unit record.
#3: Volkswagen: +38%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +38% to 8,435 – There was a rough patch. Following the diesel emissions scandal that broke in late 2015, Volkswagen’s Canadian sales in 2016 tumbled 15 percent. But with strong Golf sales and a surging SUV lineup, Volkswagen was nearly back to pre-scandal levels in 2017. And in 2018? At this pace, Volkswagen is on track for a record 96,000 sales, boosted by an SUV line that now accounts for more than four-in-ten Volkswagen sales.
#2: Volvo: +39%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +39% to 968 – The launch of the second-generation XC90 has gone well, but a severe degradation in car sales has caused resurgent Volvo Canada to still fall far shy of the record output gleaned in the early part of the century. Volvo sold 11,651 vehicles in Canada in 2005; a six-year high of 6,435 units in 2017. With the new XC60 joining forces in 2018, however, and the first XC40 approaching, Volvo is on track for nearly 9,000 sales this year.
#1: Alfa Romeo: +4,925%
– February 2018 YTD Sales: +4,925% to 201 – Yes, Alfa Romeo is Canada’s fastest-growing auto brand in early 2018. No, it doesn’t mean anything. Alfa Romeo is a niche player, operating a handful of dealers in large urban centres. But given the desirability of the Italian marque, it’s growth we can’t ignore. Alfa Romeo is now selling a Giulia sedan (that was just going on sale at this time a year ago) and Stelvio SUV to go along with the low-volume 4C. The Stelvio currently accounts for two-thirds of the brand’s Canadian volume.
After record Canadian auto sales in five consecutive years, ending with a record 2 million sales in calendar year 2017, 2018 is projected to produce a mild slowdown. Except, through the first one-sixth of 2018, Canadian auto sales are ahead of last year’s record-setting pace by 4 percent. Light trucks – which encompass pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and vans – are actually up by more than 7 percent, year-over-year, a gain of some 12,000 sales over the course of January and February.
Which brands are causing the bulk of the growth? Not all of them, as Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Ram are among the auto brands that aren’t selling as many new vehicles in 2018 as they did at this point in 2017.