In a record-breaking first-quarter in 2018, these are the 30 lowest-volume vehicles on sale today
#30: Audi TT
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +32% to 103 – Even with all-wheel drive, this isn’t exactly the season for low-slung 2+2s. The Audi TT actually attracted more buyers in the first-quarter of 2018 than during the equivalent period one year ago, but not enough buyers to be considered anything other than one of the lowest-volume vehicles in Canada.
#29: Buick Regal
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -47% to 101 – As Buick’s next generation of the Opel-based Regal begins to arrive, Buick is faced with the same issue that plagued the previous generation of the Regal: it lacks the prestige of premium brands or the affordability of mainstream sedans. Regardless, as the new Regal becomes readily available, it’s unlikely to remain among the lowest-volume vehicles in Canada.
#28: Cadillac XTS
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -34% to 99 – Eventually destined to be excused from the Cadillac lineup, the Cadillac XTS has merit as an airport limo, but there’s very little consumer appeal. That’s all the more true now that the more modern CT6 is part of the Cadillac lineup. (Yet that big sedan is on this list of worst sellers, as well.)
#27: Jaguar XJ
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -11% to 93 – The Jaguar brand is about to produce another surge. After the F-Pace propelled the brand into a new level of popularity, the more affordable E-Pace will now likely do the same thing. As for the Jaguar XJ, the brand’s longest-running nameplate, sales will grow ever more infrequent.
#26: Lexus GX
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -31% to 92 – In a lineup with two of Canada’s most popular utility vehicles, the RX and NX crossovers, the body-on-frame Lexus GX lacks meaningful appeal in the mainstream luxury marketplace. Lexus averages 530 GX sales per year. At the current rate of decline, Lexus will sell 350 in Canada in 2018.
#25: Genesis G80
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +172% to 87 – Nowhere near as popular now as it was when known as the Hyundai Genesis (and far less widely available), the Genesis G80 is nevertheless picking up a measure of speed. That’s relative. Canada’s newest premium brand’s central product attracts one buyer for every 29 copies of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
#24: Jaguar XF
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -56% to 83 – Jaguar’s XF is only a couple of years into its second generation, yet already demand for the sedan is evaporating. Jaguar buyers want utility vehicles. That’s where the brand gets 60 percent of its sales. The XF is a forgotten member of the Jaguar car lineup, now accounting for only 6 percent of the low-volume brand’s Canadian sales.
#23: Volvo V90
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +140% to 72 – Distinctly more common in 2018 than it was in early 2017, when it was only just arriving, the Volvo V90 highlights the reason why so many automakers have given up on wagons to focus on SUVs. The V90 and V90 Cross Country accounts for less than 1 out of every 20 Volvo Canada sales. Volvo’s utility vehicles account for 80 percent of the Volvo Canada volume.
#22: Toyota Avalon
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -28% to 71 – Seemingly a member of a dying breed, Toyota is nevertheless reigniting the Avalon with a new model on a new platform for 2019. But Avalon demand has collapsed ever since rising to a seven-year high in 2013. Avalon volume dipped by nearly two-thirds over the last half decade.
#21: Fiat 500
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -85% to 70 – It was a successful start. In 2012, the Fiat 500’s first full year on the market, FCA’s namesake brand was selling more than 700 500s per month in Canada. Now the 500 is doing only 70 sales per quarter.
#20: Smart Fortwo
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -27% to 68 – With a future as an electric vehicle, the Smart Fortwo quickly goes from competing in a very narrow niche to competing in an even narrower niche. EVs with relatively long range and spacious cabins are becoming commonly available. The Smart Fortwo? Its lack of mass market appeal will only be highlighted by this move.
#19: Porsche 718 Cayman
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +29% to 66 – After hitting an all-time high in 2016, Porsche Cayman sales fell to a three-year low in 2017. Sales recovery in the first-quarter of 2018 indicates rather little for a car in this category, a high-priced rear-wheel-drive German sports car.
#18: Volvo S90
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -25% to 53 – Unpopular from the get-go, this successor to the uncommon S80 is quickly becoming even less popular only a year and a half into its tenure. Larger luxury sedans are all struggling against increasingly popular luxury SUVs, but the S90 competes on behalf of a Chinese-owned Swedish brand that has always struggled in this category.
#17: Porsche 718 Boxster
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +152% to 53 – Somewhat unexpectedly, Porsche’s utility vehicle sales are sagging in early 2018. There’s any number of possibilities that could explain such a downturn, particularly in such a short period. Yet overall Porsche sales are on the rise because of huge increases in the car lineup: a Panamera that’s up 291 percent, the 911’s 131-percent uptick, and this 152-percent Boxster surge.
#16: Fiat 124 Spider
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -63% to 51 – Not surprisingly, FCA’s take on Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is a slow seller in mid-winter. But sales of the 124 Spider (and Miata) are even slower this year. The 62-percent drop for Fiat equals 85 fewer sales in 2018’s first-quarter than in early 2017.
#15: Cadillac CT6
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -31% to 50 – By no means a Canadian success story for a Cadillac brand that reached new heights in Canada last year, the CT6 flagship Cadillac sedan is even less popular this year than last. In fact, no Cadillac sells less often in Canada, as the CT6 accounts for just 2 percent of the brand’s volume.
#14: Lexus GS
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -42% to 41 – Not likely destined for a long and productive future, the Lexus GS is struggling to find buyers in a segment where it’s always struggled, a segment that is struggling overall. Only a few dozen GSs have been sold so far this year, as Lexus finds its way almost exclusively with utility vehicles.
#13: Maserati Ghibli
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -32% to 38 – With a rapid decline in sales of the Levante, Maserati’s first SUV, total Maserati sales are down 40 percent so far this year. The Ghibli is certainly no help, as sales are nosediving for a model with a critical lack of appeal in the mainstream luxury sector.
#12: Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -27% to 32 – The sports car market isn’t dead: just look at the recent success of vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, and Porsche 911. But the degree to which demand for vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz SLC (formerly the SLK) and BMW Z4 is nevertheless staggering. Mercedes-Benz sold 798 SLKs in 2005 but SLC sales in 2018 are on track to total fewer than 175.
#11: Lexus RC
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -59% to 31 – It’s never surprising to see a sharp decline in sales of virtually any coupe. But that’s especially true when it comes to vehicles like the outlandishly styled Lexus RC, a performance coupe lacking the sharp edge of a BMW 4 Series. Three years ago, Lexus was selling an average of 66 RCs per month.
#10: Audi A8
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -38% to 28 – A high-priced luxury limo, the Audi A8 appears on this list along with the Jaguar XJ while many competitors are ineligible because of base prices well in excess of $100,000. The A8 is in a transition phase, but it’s rarely mattered what phase the A8 is in: the biggest Audi sedan has never caught on in North America.
#9: Acura RLX
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +13% to 18 – It’s a bad sign when a 13-percent year-over-year sales increase translates to 18 total sales. The Acura RLX was that unpopular, and a virtually meaningless percentage improvement hasn’t changed that fact for a model many luxury sedan buyers don’t even know exists.
T7: Infiniti Q70
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -39% to 16 – Like the Genesis G80, Acura RLX, Lexus GS, and Cadillac CT6, the Infiniti Q70 is fighting for a slice of an ever-shrinking pie that’s always been sliced by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Sales of the Q70’s little brother, the Q50, rose 75 percent in 2018’s first quarter. The Q70 tells an altogether different story.
T7: Fiat 500X
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -95% to 16 – It seemed as though the Fiat 500X was the answer to the question Fiat’s 500L could not supply. But like the 500L, the 500X’s initially (modest) demand has not proven sustainable.
T5: Kia Cadenza
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -26% to 14 – Want a premium Kia sedan? If so, you want a Stinger, sales of which are 22 times stronger than sales of the Cadenza. A front-wheel-drive comfort-focused Kia sedan, in an anti-sedan market, generates essentially no Canadian interest in 2018.
T5: Alfa Romeo 4C
– 2018 Q1 Sales: +180% to 14 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will sell a lot of two-door cars in 2018, but it’s far more likely that you’ll pay for a Fiat 124 Spider, not an Alfa Romeo 4C. In fact, the greater likelihood has Canadian buyers showing up at a Dodge dealer to pay for a Challenger, although sales of that model are down 59 percent so far this year.
#4: Genesis G90
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -55% to 13 – As Genesis launches the much more affordable G70, a car that should greatly inflate sales figures at Hyundai’s luxury spin-off, the G90 operates in near invisibility at the top end of the lineup. As if the beginning of 2017 wasn’t host to a scant number of G90 sales, G90 volume in 2018’s first-quarter has produced fewer than half as many sales.
#3: Hyundai Veloster
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -98% to 13 – In no way representative of real demand, the 13 sales produced by the Hyundai Veloster during the first three months of 2018 is the result of an in-between-generations lull for Hyundai’s unique sporty hatchback. A new Veloster is on its way, and Hyundai has hopes that an N performance variant will return demand back to the heady days of 2012, when 5,741 Velosters were sold in Canada.
#2: Fiat 500L
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -77% to 5 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles persists with the ignored 500L, a tall hatchback that operates in the shadows while vehicles like the Kia Soul find hundreds of buyers per month. Earning criticism for poor reliability and poor performance, the 500L is one of those rare modern automobiles that does not likely deserve to exist.
#1: Kia K900
– 2018 Q1 Sales: -67% to 1 – As if the Kia Cadenza doesn’t portray an insufficient degree of appeal in light of the hyped Kia Stinger, the outgoing first-generation Kia K900 makes even less sense for most buyers interested in a premium Kia. Fewer than 100 K900s have been sold in Canada since 2014.
Canadian auto sales grew 2 percent in 2018’s first-quarter, a three-month span that places the Canadian auto industry on track to report a sixth consecutive year of record auto sales. But while the 30 best-selling vehicles in Canada account for more than half of all auto sales volume, these 30 lowest-volume vehicles are altogether less common. They produce roughly one-half of one percent of all new vehicle sales.
To discover which vehicles truly represent the narrowest of niches in the Canadian auto market, we’re excluding vehicles with base prices above $100,000, vehicles which are formally discontinued or for which discontinuation has been announced, and vehicles that weren’t on sale at the beginning of 2018.