Through seven months, these are Canada’s favourite luxury cars
#25: Audi A7
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 23.2% to 459 – The sharp 23% year-to-date decline of the Audi A7, which suffered from sorely limited supply early, somewhat masks the recent gains it has made. Since April, A7 sales are actually up 11%.
#24: Lexus RC
- July 2015 YTD Sales: 494 – New product is certainly helping Lexus achieve record Canadian sales in 2015. The RC, as you’d expect, isn’t a major part of the brand’s upswing, as newly launched $50K+ coupes aren’t a driving factor in today’s marketplace. However, Lexus also launched the entry-level NX crossover late last year. That vehicle generates one-quarter the Lexus brand’s volume while RCs account for just 4% of all Lexus sales in Canada.
#23: Lexus CT
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 17.6% to 529 – Lexus offers hybrid versions of a number of its core vehicles, including the RX, the brand’s top-selling model. The CT, however, is available exclusively as a hybrid. In the current environment, particularly in hybrid-averse Canada, hybrids aren’t hugely sought-after powertrains. 2015 is on track to be the lowest-volume year in the CT’s five-year history.
#22: Audi A6
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 17.9% to 537 – Mercedes-Benz is Canada’s top-selling premium brand but sales of its midsize sedan, the E-Class, are sliding. BMW, Canada’s second-ranked premium brand, is similarly suffering from declining sales of its midsize 5 Series. Likewise, Audi, Canada’s third-ranked premium brand, has seen sales of its E-Class and 5 Series rival, the Audi A6, tumble in 2015.
#21: Porsche 911
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 11.0% to 576 – Porsche is undeniably now an SUV builder with a sports car business on the side. The Cayenne and Macan produce seven out of every 10 sales for Porsche Canada. Still, the 911 continues to be Porsche’s most popular car, however, and not by a small measure. Half the passenger cars Porsche sells in Canada are 911s of one sort or another.
#20: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 1.1% to 632 – No other vehicle as costly as the S-Class even cracks this list of Canada’s top-selling premium cars, let alone outsells the big Benz sedan. Among direct competitors, Audi has sold just 148 A8s so far this year, BMW has sold 179 copies of the 7 Series, Jaguar XJ sales are down 29% to 146, and Porsche has sold 183 Panameras.
#19: Volvo V60
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 13.9% to 657 – Volvo relies on its two utility vehicle nameplates, XC60 and XC90, for 48% of the brand’s sales, up from 40% at this time a year ago. But in the brand’s slowing car division, the V60 is the bright light. In fact, the V60 and XC70, Volvo’s two wagons, produce 82% of Volvo’s passenger car volume.
#18: Lincoln MKZ
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 32.1% to 657 – Theoretically, working in Lincoln’s favour is the fact that the MKZ bears no resemblance to the volume car on which it’s based, Ford’s Fusion. Unfortunately, the Fusion may well be the better-looking car. The MKZ is a far more divisive design. Moreover, the MKZ is a passenger car at a Lincoln brand which majors on SUVs and crossovers. Only 20% of all Lincolns sold in Canada this year are cars. Of special note: Hyundai sold 913 copies of its Genesis sedan in the first seven months of 2015, 256 more than the MKZ managed. Perhaps a premium badge isn’t the only part of the badge that matters.
#17: BMW 2 Series
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 145% to 923 – After consecutive years of 1 Series sales decline in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, the 2 Series – BMW’s 1 Series successor – is getting back on track in 2015. BMW nevertheless limits itself by not offering the full 1 Series/2 Series range in Canada. While Audi sells an A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz sells the CLA sedan, the 2 Series is two-door only.
#16: BMW 5 Series
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 15.6% to 1033 – Like its chief rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, sales of the 5 Series are falling both in Canada and the United States. Before this year-over-year decline, Canadian 5 Series sales had already fallen to a five-year low in 2014. After attracting more than 2000 buyers in each of the last five years, BMW is on track to generate fewer than 1800 5 Series sales in 2015.
#15: Audi A5
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 22.8% to 1079 – Quite naturally, in its eighth year on the market, A5 sales are on track to fall to a six-year low. Combined, the A5 and its A4 donor sibling remain common premium cars, however. Jointly, they’ve generated 4441 Canadian sales through the first seven months of 2015, the exact total achieved by Audi Canada’s best-selling Q5 crossover.
#14: Mercedes-Benz B-Class
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 22.8% to 1256 – Now firmly entrenched in its second generation, the B-Class is a significantly less likely purchase or lease than it was during its popularity peaks in 2008 and 2013. But it does offer Mercedes-Benz Canada’s dealers something their U.S. counterparts lack. South of the border, the B-Class is simply an electric vehicle. Here, it’s an upmarket alternative to cars like the Fiat 500L and departed Toyota Matrix.
#13: Lexus ES
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 10.0% to 1348 – It’s not surprising to see ES sales falling in 2015. Lexus is launching a revamped ES for the 2016 model year. That fact, together with the overall decline of passenger cars and increasing disinterest in high-end volume brand cars which compete with the ES, will inevitably bring down the car’s Canadian sales. Meanwhile, in the United States, the ES is wildly more popular. Lexus sells some 26 ES sedans in the U.S. for each ES sold in Canada.
#12: Acura ILX
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 20.2% to 1384 – Certainly among the least “premium” cars on this list, the ILX is thoroughly updated for the 2016 model year in order to make it stand out as more than a Civic Plus. Now standard is a 2.4L four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic. Long gone from the Acura lineup are entry-level cars like the Integra and RSX.
#11: Cadillac ATS
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 20.7% to 1671 – Year after year, Cadillac releases a new car meant to make us believe that the brand is more than just Escalade and SRX. And while the cars are received well by the enthusiast media – the ATS is a driver’s delight, as is the CTS, as are their respective V versions, and as the upcoming CT6 will likely be – they simply don’t fare all that well in the marketplace. Total Cadillac car sales are down 22% in Canada this year. The ATS, CTS, ELR, and XTS account for just 38% of GM Canada’s total Cadillac volume.
#10: Infiniti Q50
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 8.7% to 1802 – The Q50 has only been around for two years, but already sales are falling. Q50 sales declined in each of 2015’s first six months and in nine of the last twelve. Still, the overall Infiniti brand is on track for another record year, regardless of the Q50’s gradual slide.
#9: Mercedes-Benz E-Class & CLS-Class
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 15.4% to 1840 – While the E-Class and its swoopier CLS-Class “coupe” sibling continue to lead the Canadian midsize luxury category, sales have consistently declined in Canada for much of the last year. After peaking at more than 4000 units in 2012, E-Class sales are on pace to fall to a six-year low in 2015. Although we lack figures, the CLS accounts for 13% of the duo’s total.
#8: Lexus IS
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 12% to 2060 – Perhaps we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the IS’s sharp decline in 2015 without considering the impact of the RC, which is to some degree an IS coupe. Combined, the pair is up 9% to 2554 units over last year’s IS sales. Together, they account for more than half of the Lexus brand’s car volume in Canada.
#7: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 7.5% to 2257 – Concerns that a lower-priced, front-wheel-drive, entry-level car would lower the Mercedes-Benz brand’s image in the world haven’t been validated in the Canadian market. For one thing, Mercedes-Benz was already selling the B-Class here. For another, the CLA has style – like it or hate it – on its side. Finally, Mercedes-Benz is selling more new vehicles in Canada now than ever before.
#6: Audi A3
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 150% to 2367 – Audi Canada’s second-gen A3 is a far more effective entry point to the Audi brand than the first A3 hatchback ever was. In only nine months last year, for instance, Audi sold more A3s than in any previous full calendar year. 2015 is significantly more healthy than that, with Audi set to sell more A3s in the first eight months of 2015 than in the final nine months of 2014.
#5: Acura TLX
- July 2015 YTD Sales: 2931 – Honda Canada is on track to sell approximately 5000 copies of the Acura TLX in 2015. The last time its TL predecessor cracked the 5K mark was 2005. Then again, the TLX was also tasked with replacing the TSX, which added nearly 4000 Canadian sales in 2005. The TLX is, however, outperforming the TL/TSX’s more recent performance – they only attracted 3353 buyers in all of 2013.
#4: BMW 4 Series
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 79.7% to 3147 – BMW’s 3 Series offspring, the 4 Series, is a mighty popular car in its own right. Or should we say, cars, plural? The 4 Series nameplate takes into account a coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe, the latter being a four-door hatchback. Combined sales of the 3 Series and 4 Series are up 20% to 8487 so far this year, equal to 42% of BMW’s overall Canadian sales tally.
#3: Audi A4
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 3.9% to 3362 – Set to be replaced for the 2016 model year by a visually similar A4, the outgoing model has suffered modest Canadian sales declines in each of the last two years and is falling this year, as well. Yet the A4 remains a rather popular car, as evidenced by its third-place ranking on this list. 41% of Audi’s Canadian passenger car sales are A4-derived.
#2: BMW 3 Series
- July 2015 YTD Sales: down 0.2% to 5340 – Truthfully, the 3 Series lineup is much smaller than it once was. Until the fourth-quarter of 2013, two-door versions of the 3 Series operated under the 3 Series banner. They’re now called 4 Series cars, and that separate nameplate ranks fourth on this list. The 3 Series is the perennial leader among Canadian luxury cars, and it began eating into the top-ranked C-Class’s lead in July. The 3 Series ranked first last month, outselling its Benz rival by 101 units.
#1: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- July 2015 YTD Sales: up 65.3% to 6269 – Canadian sales of the C-Class, once the company’s entry-level model but now the fourth rung up the ladder, peaked at 10,616 units in calendar year 2012. Mercedes-Benz should be able to top that in 2015, and if not, there’s more hope for 2016. The coupe version of this latest fourth-generation C-Class debuted in August, and it will provide a boost to Canada’s best-selling luxury car nameplate next year.
When you think of luxury auto brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Lexus you probably picture a stately sedan. But while Canadians are buying record numbers of vehicles from these four best-selling premium auto brands in the country, a surprisingly small number of those vehicles are cars.
Increasingly, even premium automakers are relying on SUVs and crossovers for a large chunk of their volume – 43% at Mercedes-Benz, 44% at BMW, 48% at Audi and a whopping 61% at Lexus.
So which luxury cars are still selling well? These are the 25 best-selling cars in Canada through the first seven months of 2015 from premium brands. And guess what? The best-seller is no longer the BMW 3 Series
And yes, we know that other automakers, even mainstream brands like Ford and Hyundai, sell some high-end machines, but we’re hewing closely to the traditional upmarket badges to establish these top 25 players.