Mid-year vehicle sales numbers have long been a useful tool for dealerships, automotive companies, industry watchers, and shoppers who want to understand where the domestic automotive market is going. When the numbers for 2018 were released back in July, they served as a reminder that while some things change, others stay the same.
What The Best-Selling Cars In Canada Tell Us About What Shoppers Want
As it has been for half a century, the best-selling vehicle in Canada continues to be the Ford F-150. An industry king that has held onto its crown through judicious marketing and constant innovation, the F-150’s place on the list hasn’t been seriously challenged in decades.
Nor was it surprising that the Ram and Honda Civic captured second and third place, respectively: these are both vital brands that have consistently satisfied their customer base. Indeed, the Honda Civic has now been Canada’s favourite car for twenty years.
The Family Car Is Becoming A Thing Of The Past
But further down the list, the solid performance of SUVs and trucks over sedans is additional evidence that the family car is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
The most popular SUVS (the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Escape, and the Nissan Rogue) are all seeing modest to solid growth, while the only other sedan aside from the Civic, the Toyota Corolla, is down 11%.
Industry watchers can see these dynamics playing out in real time on popular online marketplace sites like Kijiji Autos — clearly, for shoppers who are in the market for a new vehicle but who don’t need a truck, the SUV has beat out the car as the default choice.
The Popularity Of SUVs and Trucks
The reasons for this are varied, but the best-selling vehicles do provide something of a clue. The popularity of trucks like the F-150 and Ram (as well as the Silverado and GMC Sierra, which also cracked the top ten) is not surprising, as they tend to be popular in industries that demand heavy-duty performance and which go through vehicles more quickly. The market for trucks is solid, and likely will continue to be so long as it is dominated by a handful of reliable brands delivering very similar products. The real drama lies in the battle between sedans and SUVs, and here the particular SUVs that made the list are significant.
Over the past decade, SUVs have become increasingly versatile, with a wide range of body sizes and styles now available. While sedans have remained more-or-less static, with the only real choice being between sport and hatchback options, SUVs provide shoppers a dizzying array of options, from subcompact crossovers to full-size three-row behemoths.
Most of the best-selling SUVs, however, fall somewhere in the middle, offering shoppers a sporty, muscular vehicle that blends the best features of the truck, minivan, and sedan. Apparently, Canadians shopping for vehicles in 2018 have opted for the Goldilocks option: neither too big nor too small, but just right.
The Only Certainty Is Uncertainty
The automotive industry in the 21st century has proved to be a time of great change and significant uncertainty. Whether due to political meddling that drives up material costs, or new technological developments that are bringing us closer to a reality in which electric and self-driving cars are readily available, the only certainty is uncertainty. Perhaps keeping track of the cars people are actually buying is the only truly reliable way of seeing where the market is headed.
Are you in the market for a new car? What are you thinking of buying?