In 2017, Americans are still snapping up these 25 new vehicles—Canadians aren’t
#25: Ford Fusion | 19X
While sales of the Ford Fusion are falling on both sides of the border, the Fusion competes in a midsize category that’s 22 times larger in the United States than it is in Canada. Thus, while the Fusion owns only 11 percent of America’s midsize sedan segment, its share in that same segment in Canada, where its total volume is so much smaller, is 13 percent. Canadian Fusion sales are down 25 percent to 7,189 so far this year. U.S. Fusion volume is down 27 percent to 138,489.
#24: Chevrolet Malibu | 20X
Like its compatriot Ford Fusion, the more recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu is afflicted both in Canada and the United States by rapidly declining midsize sedan demand. The Malibu is America’s fifth-best-selling midsize car, where its volume has fallen 21 percent to 117,173 units so far this year. In Canada, the Malibu ranks fourth overall. Canadian Malibu volume is down 21 percent to 5,962.
#23: Chevrolet Camaro | 20X
With great swathes of the United States not limited by inclement weather, America is both more open to sporty cars and to rear-wheel-drive cars. The Chevrolet Camaro fits the bill, and sales this year in the U.S. are down less than 4 percent to 46,297 units. In Canada, Camaro volume is rising, up 15 percent to 2,323 units so far this year. On both sides of the border, the Ford Mustang is significantly more popular.
#22: Subaru Legacy | 21X
Not only does the Subaru Legacy compete in a U.S. midsize segment that’s far larger than Canada’s equivalent, it does so for a Subaru brand that, while growing in both Canada and the United States, is more popular south of the border. The Subaru brand owns 3.7 percent of the U.S. market, 2.5 percent in Canada. In both instances, the Legacy is a small player in the midsize sedan category.
#21: Honda Accord | 22X
Set to be replaced this fall by an all-new, tenth-generation model, the trend of far superior Honda Accord sales in the United States will continue. The Accord’s little brother, the Honda Civic, will turn 2017 into the 20th consecutive year of Canadian passenger car sales leadership. In Canada, the Civic generates five times more sales than the Accord. In the U.S., the Civic produces only 1.1 sales for every 1 Accord sale.
#20: Infiniti QX80 | 22X
As the Infiniti brand surges toward another year of record sales in both the United States and Canada, the full-size Infiniti QX80 plays a meaningful role for the company in the U.S. and a small role in Canada. 12 percent of Infiniti’s U.S. volume is QX80-derived — it outsells the QX30, QX50, Q60, and Q70. In Canada, less than 7 percent of Infiniti’s volume comes from the QX80. It’s Infiniti’s fifth-best-selling model in Canada.
#19: Kia Optima | 23X
Never able to quite reach up to the top-tier of mainstream midsize sedan players, the Kia Optima is now suffering from consistent sales declines on both sides of the border. Fortunately for Kia, the rate of decline isn’t as severe as the segment is experiencing overall. Canadian Optima sales are down 6 percent to 3,310 units in 2017. U.S. Optima sales are down 7 percent to 74,722 units so far this year.
#18: GMC Acadia | 23X
In the United States, only 19 percent of General Motors’ total volume comes from GMC. That number rises to 33 percent in Canada, but that’s on account of the Sierra pickup truck line, not the GMC Acadia. Americans buy 23 times more Acadias than Canadians do. U.S. sales are up 45 percent to 75,214 units in 2017; Canadian volume is up 16 percent to 3,267 sales.
#17: Ford Fiesta | 23X
In North America’s shrinking subcompact sector, the Ford Fiesta is an increasingly inconsequential player. With no announced plans to launch the next-generation Fiesta in the U.S. and Canada, the current model is simply an aging and unpopular member of the sector. And yet it’s a distinctly more popular subcompact candidate in the U.S. so far this year even though sales are down 6 percent to 32,409 units this year. Canadian Fiesta volume is down 42 percent to only 1,383 sales through 2017’s first eight months.
#16: Toyota Prius | 24X
The comparatively strong American desire to acquire hybrids is seen in its most obvious form in the leader of hybrids: Toyota’s Prius. While Canadian sales of the Prius are up 31 percent to 2,435 units so far this year, it’s still an uncommon car here. Meanwhile, in the U.S., where Prius volume is down 15 percent to 58,346 units, it’s a comparably common car.
#15: Cadillac XTS | 25X
The most popular Cadillac passenger car in America has seen its U.S. sales plunge by more than a quarter to 9,623 units so far this year. In Canada, the Cadillac XTS accounts for only 15 percent of Cadillac’s car volume, not the 29 percent it achieves south of the border. Curiously, the XTS is the Cadillac that bears the most resemblance to Cadillacs of yore, conceptually, but it’s the Cadillac car that stands out as the least Cadillac-like member of the family in 2017.
#14: Buick LaCrosse | 25X
A far cry from the modest success story of the past, the third-generation Buick LaCrosse couldn’t be much more ignored than it is now in Canada. Granted, U.S. LaCrosse sales are only fractionally as strong as they once were, as well. Volume is down 19 percent to 14,534 units in 2017 in the U.S., but LaCrosse sales are up 6 percent to 576 units in Canada. A decade ago, when LaCrosse sales had already begun to crater, Buick was selling 3,500 copies per month in the U.S.
#13: Lincoln MKZ | 27X
The Lincoln brand is a bit player in Canada, generating only 0.4 percent market share, less than two-thirds the impact Lincoln has in the United States. The Lincoln MKZ forms a major part of the Ford-owned brand’s lineup in the U.S., producing 18,901 (26 percent) of the 73,920 Lincoln sales so far this year. In Canada, only 12 percent, just 709, of the 5,688 Lincolns sold in 2017 were MKZs.
#12: Lexus ES | 28X
In Canada, Toyota’s upmarket brand relies on crossovers for the overwhelming majority of its sales. The RX and NX crossovers are hugely important to Lexus in the U.S., too, but the Lexus ES sedan plays a role in America — where it’s one of the country’s top-selling premium brand cars — that it does not in Canada. U.S. sales of the ES are down 11 percent to 34,845 units so far this year, 28 times the 1,268-unit total the ES has achieved in Canada in 2017.
#11: Nissan Armada | 28X
It’s not an exception at Nissan. Full-size, body-on-frame, truck-based SUVs are far more common in the U.S. than in Canada. But it doesn’t help that the Nissan Armada (up 231 percent to 21,086 units in the U.S.; up 140 percen to 764 units in Canada) is priced from $46,895 in the U.S. but starts at nearly $70,000 in Canada, where the base trim isn’t offered. At that point, its Infiniti QX80 sibling isn’t far off. No wonder the QX80 sells nearly as often in Canada as the Armada.
#10: Volvo S60 | 28X
By the standards of German competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and BMW 3 Series, the Volvo S60 continues to be an uncommon choice both in Canada and the U.S. But Americans are far more open to the idea, snapping up 28 times more S60s than Canadians do. The C-Class and A4, comparatively, are only 7 times and 5 times more popular in the U.S. than Canada, respectively.
#9: Chevrolet Suburban | 28X
With full-size SUVs claiming a far greater chunk of the American market than they do in Canada, it’s no surprise to see the biggest of them all struggle to attract a comparable number of Canadian buyers. Chevrolet Suburban sales are down 2 percent to 33,072 in the U.S. in 2017. Canadians have only acquired 1,184 Suburbans in the same eight-month period, a 3-percent year-over-year decline.
#8: Toyota Camry | 28X
With Toyota launching an all-new 2018 Toyota Camry this summer, the top-selling midsize car in America is enjoying huge market share increases. In Canada, the Camry — typically Canada’s top-selling midsize car but No.2 this year — is fighting for a larger slice of a much, much smaller segment. U.S. Camry sales totalled 247,774 units in 2017’s first eight months; only 8,865 in Canada. Its U.S. market share is 20 percent among midsize cars; 16 percent in Canada.
#7: Chevrolet Traverse | 28X
Although Canadian crossover buyers are very nearly as likely to buy or lease a Chevrolet Equinox as buyers to the south, the larger Chevrolet Traverse enjoys far greater popularity in its home market. As the Traverse transitions into a second generation, sales are down 2 percent to 76,921 in the U.S. in 2017. Canadian volume is down 10 percent to only 2,712 units.
#6: Jeep Renegade | 28X
The assumption that a greater appetite among Canadians for small cars would carry over to subcompact crossovers hasn’t yet translated—they’re similarly popular on both sides of the border. But while the Jeep Renegade is the segment’s top seller in the U.S. with sales of 70,859 units in 2017, it’s an uncommon choice in Canada, where 2017 volume is down 13 percent to 2,494 units. Honda’s HR-V is four times more popular.
#5: Chevrolet Tahoe | 32X
America’s best-selling full-size SUV is a major part of Canada’s full-size SUV sector, as well. Yet while Americans continue to flock toward the biggest SUVs, Canadians buy these vehicles in much smaller numbers. The Chevrolet Tahoe is 32 times more likely to be acquired in the U.S., though total auto sales volume is only 8 times stronger south of the border. U.S. Tahoe sales totalled 59,712 units in 2017’s first eight months. Canadian volume is up 6 percent to 1,856 in 2017.
#4: Nissan Altima | 37X
In a Canadian midsize sedan segment that’s not remotely as strong as the (likewise shrinking) U.S. midsize sedan segment, the Nissan Altima stands as a shining example of the trend. The Altima is America’s third-best-selling midsize car despite a 16-percent drop to 183,292 sales this year. In Canada, the Altima ranks sixth in the segment and owns just 9 percent market share in the category, down from 15 percent market share in the U.S.
#3: Genesis G80 | 40X
In the United States, the one-year-old Genesis brand has adopted a method of building unique outlets inside Hyundai showrooms. It’s not a long-term plan, but it’s a very different approach from Canada, which has essentially operated with an online-heavy, dealer-free approach to date. The result? U.S. Genesis G80 sales climbed to 10,489 by the end of August. Canadian Genesis G80 sales number just 261 so far this year.
#2: Lexus GX | 47X
An in-your-face luxury version of the Toyota 4Runner? Perhaps that’s what Canadians think of the Lexus GX460, sales of which are flat at 351 units so far this year. In the U.S., the GX plays a much larger role for Lexus, accounting for 13 percent of the brand’s year-to-date SUV/crossover volume with 16,308 total sales. Only 3 percent of Lexus’ Canadian utility vehicle volume is GX-derived.
#1: Toyota Avalon | 70X
It’s not new to see full-size sedans generating far greater sales volume in the U.S. than in Canada. Would-be midsize buyers buy compacts in Canada. Would-be full-size sedan buyers buy midsize sedans in Canada. But the trend is most obvious at Toyota, where the Avalon is 70 times more common in the U.S. than in Canada. On both sides of the border, however, Avalon sales are slipping. U.S. volume is down 28 percent to 22,465 units in 2017; Canadian sales are down 26 percent to only 319.
Canada is not just a northerly version of the United States with more poutine and better Olympics coverage. In the automotive sphere, the two markets share so much and yet have distinct buying habits.
Canadians are distinctly more likely to buy pickup trucks than our Americans counterparts, for instance. Canadians are also more accepting of Mazda and Volkswagen. Yet south of the border, there are a wide variety of vehicles that, despite the U.S. market being only 8 times larger than Canada’s, sell with far greater frequency than they do here. How much more frequently?
We’ll tell you, ranking cars by the difference in volume — between 19 times and 70 times more popular — over the first two-thirds of 2017. We’ve excluded niche market cars that make little statistical difference by including only those vehicles that sell more than 1,000 copies per month in the United States.
Naturally, we’ve also excluded those few vehicles that are sold in America but remain unavailable in Canada. Granted, some of these vehicles are moderately popular in Canada, but not nearly to the level they achieve south of the border.