The SUV sector is now the dominant vehicle category in Canada, so which brand sells the most SUVs and crossovers?
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +26% to 2,222 – Porsche still sells sports cars, but the brand majors on utility vehicles. The Porsche Macan is Canada’s favourite Porsche. With 1,433 sales to date, the Macan does 70 percent more volume than the entire Porsche passenger car division. The Cayenne, meanwhile, sells nearly as often as Porsche’s cars. Combined, the duo produced nearly three-quarters of Porsche Canada’s record volume in the first five months of 2017.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: -1% to 2,688 – Utility vehicles form the lion’s share of Lincoln’s sales in Canada – 80 percent so far this year – but Lincoln MKX sales are flat, the MKC is down, the MKT is a non-factor, and the Navigator is entering a replacement phase. As a result, Lincoln’s SUV/crossover volume is down slightly. Fortunately, Lincoln’s tiny car division, boosted by the Continental’s arrival, is up 30 percent.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: -2% to 3,448 – Despite the addition of a new Mercedes-Benz-based member of the fleet, the Infiniti QX30, Infiniti utility vehicle volume is declining in Canada. Blame each of the four existing models. QX50, QX60, QX70, and QX80 volume is in decline. But with the QX30 and new Q60 coupe helping, Infiniti volume is at an all-time high level.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +31% to 3,618 – Cadillac’s trio of SUVs – XT5, Escalade, and Escalade ESV – sell more than twice as often as Cadillac’s passenger cars. In fact, the Cadillac XT5, on its own, outsold the Cadillac car division by nearly 1,000 units in the first five months of 2017. May 2017, with 1,435 Cadillac sales, was GM Canada’s highest-volume Cadillac month in history.
#21: Land Rover
– May 2017 YTD Sales: -5% to 3,784 – Land Rover is the only upmarket brand in Canada that operates exclusively as an SUV brand. Sales are predictably sliding in 2017 as the LR4 is replaced by the new Land Rover Discovery. The first 74 Discoverys were sold in May. Land Rover will also soon begin selling the Range Rover Velar.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: -27% to 3,918 – Don’t expect Volkswagen to rank 20th among SUV/crossover brands at this time next year. The new Volkswagen Atlas finally gives Volkswagen a three-row vehicle; a large utility vehicle that isn’t premium-priced. Later this summer, Volkswagen also launches the larger, second-generation Tiguan. Meanwhile, Volkswagen is maintaining the first-generation Tiguan as a value play. Put it all together and total Volkswagen utility vehicle sales are expected to rise sharply. The first 123 copies of the Atlas were sold in May.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +8% to 5,208 – With production constraints increasingly lifted as Honda moves some Acura MDX production from Alabama to Ohio, expect to see further improvement from the two-pronged Acura crossover lineup in Canada. Together, the MDX and RDX account for nearly seven out of every ten Acura sales as Acura car volume plunged 15 percent in 2017’s first five months.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +74% to 5,556 – GM Canada is losing its traditional best-selling model, the Verano, emphasizing the degree to which Buick is rapidly becoming an SUV-centric semi-premium auto brand in Canada. The subcompact Buick Encore is now the top-selling Buick. Buick will replace the flagship Enclave later this year. And the China-built Buick Envision is now gaining momentum. The trio accounts for 73 percent of Buick sales; 90 percent of Buick sales if the discontinued Verano is excluded.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +14% to 5,669 – While Mitsubishi gradually eliminates all but the final crumbs from its passenger car division, the Mitsubishi Outlander and RVR will soon welcome the Eclipse Cross to the brand’s utility vehicle division. At the moment, Mitsubishi earns more than six-tenths of its Canadian volume with crossovers. Expect that number to increase steadily over the coming months and years.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +20% to 7,209 – North America’s favourite luxury utility vehicle is the Lexus RX. In Canada, the RX ranks a close second. But it’s not the only popular Lexus utility vehicle. The smaller Lexus NX is up 15 percent to 2,766 units so far this year, fifth in the premium brand sector. Lexus also sells the body-on-frame GX460 and full-size LX570.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +10% to 7,497 – Though boosted by the popularity of the second-generation Audi Q7 and helped by the Audi Q3’s arrival in 2014, the real success of the Audi utility vehicle lineup is credited to the Audi Q5. Now available in its second iteration, Audi Q5 sales are up 20 percent this year. With 3,864 year-to-date sales, it’s Canada’s top-selling luxury utility vehicle.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +10% to 8,491 – BMW fights in the Canadian luxury SUV arena with five utility vehicles: X1, X3, X4, X5, and X6. Expect an X2 and X7 by the end of next year. The BMW X3 is currently the most popular—sales are up 13 percent to 2,633 units so far this year. But BMW has also sold nearly 2,600 ×5s and more than 2,300 ×1s already in 2017.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +6% to 8,565 – With five nameplates — seven if you include “coupe” variants of the GLC and GLE — Mercedes-Benz Canada offers one of the broadest utility vehicle lineups in the luxury sector in Canada. And the most popular. 8,565 total sales across the G, GLA, GLC, GLE, and GLS lineup means Mercedes-Benz earns 46 percent of its luxury vehicle sales with SUVs/crossovers. The Mercedes-Benz SUV/crossover division, on its own, outsells every entire luxury brand aside from BMW, Audi, and Lexus.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +24% to 9,608 – While primarily still a pickup truck brand – the GMC Sierra and Canyon account for seven out of every ten GMC sales in Canada – GMC is still Canada’s 12th-ranked SUV/crossover brand. The Terrain, replaced by a second-gen model later this year, is the main volume producer. 5,679, or 59 percent, of GMC Canada’s utility vehicle sales so far in 2017 were Terrain-derived.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +7% to 10,047 – With the Dodge Journey and Dodge Durango duo forming Dodge’s entire utility vehicle lineup, more than a quarter of the Dodge brand’s sales come from SUVs/crossovers. The Grand Caravan is Dodge’s major vehicle. It accounts for more than half of all Dodge sales. Both the Durango and Journey are long in the tooth. The Journey launched in 2008; the current Durango in 2011.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +1% to 11,111 – Excluding the front-wheel-drive-only Soul and Niro, Kia’s utility vehicle lineup totals just two vehicles: Kia Sorento, and smaller Kia Sportage. Though Sorento sales have dropped 9 percent in 2017, that decline has been countered by a 15-percent uptick in Sportage sales. The duo forms nearly 40-percent of Kia Canada’s volume.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +5% to 13,479 – The Subaru Forester is the brand’s best-selling vehicle. The Subaru Outback is the brand’s second-best-selling vehicle. And the Subaru Crosstrek, which will be replaced this year, would surprise nobody if it became Canada’s third-favourite Subaru. For the time being, Crosstrek sales are down 14 percent as the replacement phase dawns. But Subaru expects a very successful launch for the second-generation, Impreza-based Crosstrek.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +13% to 15,411 – Although Mazda CX-3 sales are slightly weaker this year than last, the replacement of the popular Mazda CX-5 and the continued rapid rise of the flagship CX-9 produced a big improvement for the brand in early 2017. Mazda car sales are up slightly, too. Combine the utilities and the cars and Mazda sales are up 7 percent, a big turnaround for a brand that reported overall sales declines in 2015 and 2016 as the Canadian auto industry reached record levels.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +22% to 17,281 – 2017 is a big year for the utility vehicle division at GM Canada’s biggest brand. Chevrolet is launching the third-generation Equinox and the third-generation Traverse this year. Both have seen huge sales increases as the brand clears out existing inventory, enough of an improvement in both regards to cover up declining sales of the subcompact Trax and the brand’s full-size SUVs.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +4% to 24,154 – The Hyundai SUV/crossover trio presents a story of old vs. new. The older Hyundai Santa Fe XL and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport combined to lose nearly 2,200 sales in the first five months of 2017. The newer Hyundai Tucson jumped by more than a third, adding more than 3,100 sales during the same timespan.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: -24% to 28,601 – At this stage of 2016, Jeep was the top-selling SUV/crossover brand in Canada. That came as no surprise—Jeep has been surging for years, and it’s one of only two exclusively SUV brands in Canada. But as Jeep kills the Patriot, replaces the Compass, approaches the Wrangler’s replacement phase, and sees the Cherokee reach old age, 2017 is a transition year for the Jeep brand. Sales have fallen by a quarter so far this year.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +24% to 29,420 – The Honda CR-V entered its fifth generation for the 2017 model year and is following up record Canadian sales volume in each of the preceding seven years with a 20-percent year-over-year increase in early 2017. Along with the CR-V’s success, the smaller Honda HR-V continues to lead Canada’s subcompact crossover segment, and Pilot sales are on the rise, as well.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +12% to 29,954 – With the new Nissan Qashqai entering the lineup in May, Nissan’s SUV/crossover division isn’t just expanding its sales – it’s expanding its network. The Qashqai fills a narrow void between the Juke and Rogue. The latter accounts for more than 60 percent of Nissan utility vehicle sales in Canada.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +4% to 31,279 – Boosted by the Toyota RAV4, Canada’s top-selling utility vehicle in 2016 and through the first five months of 2017, Toyota now ranks second among Canada’s SUV/crossover sellers. Utility vehicles now make up nearly four out of every ten Toyota sales, nearly as great a share as Toyota’s passenger car division.
– May 2017 YTD Sales: +12% to 37,362 – Thanks in part to a major drop from the SUV/crossover leader from a year ago, Ford is now the top-selling utility vehicle brand in Canada. Through 2017’s first five months, Ford has seen major increases from the Ford Escape, Explorer, and Expedition, though Edge and Flex sales have dipped somewhat. The Explorer is Canada’s top-selling three-row utility vehicle; the Escape is Canada’s third-best-selling SUV/crossover overall.
Through the first five months of 2017, Canadian sales of new vehicles are up nearly 5 percent. This puts the industry on track for a fifth consecutive record sales year.
But growth isn’t coming from every sector of the industry. SUVs/crossovers are the main drivers, overcoming a decline in car sales and minivan volume.
SUV/crossover volume is up 7 percent, and these vehicles now account for 39 percent of the market—cars form only 33 percent of the market.
But which auto brands are the top SUV/crossover performers? We’ve compiled the sales statistics through the end of May to determine the 25 most popular makers of SUVs and crossovers in Canada.