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What’s the top car in Canada? Hint: Not Honda Civic

2013 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan

Honda

Hyundai Canada sold an astonishing number of Elantra compact cars in May. Astonishing – 6,268 in all, for a year-on-year jump of 36.1 per cent.

As we near the halfway point of 2013, the Elantra remains Canada's best-selling passenger car, based on the latest numbers from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. The Elantra's lead over the Honda Civic, No. 1 in Canada for 15 straight years, is slim, however: 332 units.

Honda surely must be troubled by the slide in Civic sales. On the year, the Civic is down 14.4 per cent, while the Elantra is up 11.0 per cent. The two cars are going in opposite directions, sales-wise.

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Honda Canada officials insist that they will hold onto the "best-selling" crown in 2013. Hyundai officials remain coy. In any case, it's amusing to watch these two heavyweights duke it out for the title of No. 1. Believe me, this is meaningful in the industry.

If by some twist of fate the Elantra finishes the year on top, Honda will be mortified and chastised. Meanwhile, the No. 1 crown will draw attention to the fact that Honda manufactures the Civic here in Canada and most of what Honda Canada sells is built in this country by Canadians. Hyundai builds Elantras and Sonatas in the southern U.S..

What's not in danger is Ford of Canada's dominance in full-size trucks.

"Ford's full-size F-Series pickup truck was the country's top-selling vehicle last month, with a massive 12,740 unit sales total (up 16.2 per cent)," says DesRosiers in a note to clients.

DesRosiers points to a number of other vehicles with big gains in May: Toyota Corolla (up 19.7 per cent), Toyota Camry (up 21.3 per cent), Ford Fusion (up 29.1 per cent), Ram pickup (up 22.0 per cent), Ford Escape (up 22.3 per cent), Honda CR-V (up 30.9 per cent), Toyota RAV4 (up 28.1 per cent) and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (up 12.7 per cent).

May was a good months for new vehicle sales overall, though as DesRosiers points out, the 5.3 overall gain was mostly confined to "Canada's two highest-volume light truck segments – large pickup (up 11.6 per cent) and compact sport-utility (up 20.0 per cent)…Passenger cars underperformed the total market, showing meagre growth of just 2.4 per cent."

Here's a look at Canada's top 10 cars and light trucks through May 2013:

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Passenger Cars

2013

2012

% gain/loss

1

Hyundai Elantra

23,140

20,843

11.0%

2

Honda Civic

22,808

26,631

-14.4%

3

Toyota Corolla

18,032

17,824

1.2%

4

Mazda3

16,134

16,134

0.0%

5

Chevrolet Cruze

13,440

13,171

2.0%

6

Volkswagen Jetta

12,696

10,004

26.9%

7

Ford Focus

10,775

11,283

-4.7%

8

Ford Fusion

9,110

7,071

28.8%

9

Hyundai Accent

8,129

10,818

-24.9%

10

Toyota Camry

7,471

8,543

-12.5%

 

Light Trucks

2013

2012

% gain/loss

1

Ford F-Series

50,626

42,634

18.7%

2

Ram pickup

34,052

28,333

20.2%

3

Dodge Caravan

19,473

21,963

-11.3%

4

GMC Sierra

18,585

17,740

4.8%

5

Ford Escape

17,230

15,384

12.0%

6

Chevrolet Silverado

15,308

14,392

6.4%

7

Toyota RAV4

13,467

9,919

35.8%

8

Honda CR-V

13,239

14,571

-9.1%

9

Dodge Journey

11,386

12,016

-5.2%

10

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

10,535

9,019

16.8%

Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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