Driving By Numbers: Canada’s 10 best-selling cars in 2022’s first half

Remember when coupes, sedans and hatchbacks used to make up the bulk of new car sales? Things have, uh, changed

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Baggy jeans, iPods, that little cursor controller in the middle of your laptop keyboard, choosing Blockbuster movies. At one point, whether you were promoting it, you wore those jeans, you got hooked on a music device, you swore by that TrackPoint, and you even overpaid for snacks at the video store.

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Oh, and you drove a car too.

Do you remember cars? As recently as 2009, the majority of new vehicles sold in Canada were passenger cars.

In the first six months of 2022, just 17 percent — about one in six — of vehicles sold in Canada were cars. In addition, the vast majority of passenger cars officially available in 2022 will hardly have any significant sales volumes due to the dominance of Canadian top sellers. The top 10 selling cars in Canada account for six out of every 10 car sales. Three cars alone make up a third of the car market.

Of course, cars haven’t gone completely out of style — not like baggy jeans. Cars have not been completely replaced by new technology, not in the way that the iPhone basically erased the iPod. For now, cars do more than cater to the whims of a TrackPoint-obsessed cult. Cars continue to maintain a position in the market – unlike Blockbuster.

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But their numbers are woefully small, not helped at all by a supply chain crisis that is causing sales volumes to shrink in every corner of the market. Still, the results are worse for cars, whose collective Canadian volume fell 21 percent in the first half of 2022. Light trucks, which include trucks and SUVs as well as crossovers and vans, are down just 9 percent.

Still, automakers prefer to chew on a bigger piece of the pie, even as that pie shrinks before our eyes. These are the 10 best selling cars in Canada in the first half of 2022.

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Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime Photo by Toyota

10. Toyota Prius: 2,356, down 24 percent

The decline in historically popular cars is so severe that the Toyota Prius, which generally hasn’t been able to make the impact in Canada it did in the US, made it into the top 10 despite a 24 percent year-over-year decline . At this point in 2021, the Prius was behind Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Bolt, Volkswagen Jetta and Volkswagen Golf. These four vehicles are down 43 percent, 64 percent, 60 percent, and 73 percent in 2022, respectively.

9. Honda Accord: 2,618, down 21 percent

Since 2014, when 16,962 Accords were enough for the Accord to finish the year as the tenth-placed car, Honda’s midsize car has not finished a calendar year as the top seller in Canada. Could 2022 be a restart for Honda? With the hiring of Fit and Insight, the Accord now accounts for half of Honda’s car lineup, albeit just 15 percent of Honda’s car sales.

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8. Mazda 3: 4,970, down 20 percent

If there’s a single car on this list that shows the gap between Canada’s pre-Great Recession car market and the car market of 2022, it could be the Mazda 3. It was a different time with a different mindset and different expectations, but Mazda still sold 50,317 3 Series in 2008. A decade later, Mazda 3 volumes were down 47 percent from 2008 levels. Will Mazda Canada even move 10,000 3 Series in 2022?

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2022 Kia Forte GT Line
2022 Kia Forte GT Line Photo by Peter Bleakney

7. Kia Forte: 5,254, down 30 percent

With all the demand restraints of 2020 and the initial supply restraints of 2021, the Kia Forte didn’t really struggle. Forte volume remained stable near pre-pandemic levels. 2022 tells a different story. In fact, the really different story unfolded in the second quarter, a period in which forte volume plummeted 55 percent as incoming inventory all but dried up.

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6. Nissan Sentra: 5,328, up 6 percent

Although Canadian production of the Nissan Sentra is far from the combined volume of the top three compact cars, the Sentra has gained heaps of market share in 2022. Just as the pandemic hit, Sentra volume began to rise in a whole new way at the end of 2020 and then increased by 47 percent in 2021. Compared to last year, the Sentra’s share of the Canadian compact car market has increased from 5.8 percent to 8.2 percent.

2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade
2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade Photo by Toyota

5. Toyota Camry: 6,009, down 0.1 percent

First, the bottom fell out of the full-size sedan market. And before the compact car category is grabbed for the throat, the SUV/crossover sector first smacks the midsize sedan segment below the belt. Yet the Toyota Camry somehow remains a volume player, outperforming its nearest rival by more than two to one. Despite the industry’s supply crisis, the Camry is on course for its best year since 2019.

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4. Tesla Model 3: 7,054, up 23 percent*

Despite the continuing lack of monthly model-specific sales reports from Tesla, for the first time we’re actually able to record Model 3 volume based on documents from Transport Canada. So why the asterisk? The 7,054 Model 3 units actually only refer to vehicles that were ordered before a price increase pushed the Model 3 out of the federal government’s EV stimulus program price spectrum, but were delivered in the first half of 2022. t and do not qualify for the rebate, an unknown number, for the legitimate sales of the Model 3.

3. Hyundai Elantra: 12,932, up 4 percent

The Hyundai Elantra is solidly positioned as a member of Canada’s top-tier trio and clearly stands out from its high-volume peers in 2022 thanks to a year-on-year sales increase. (The Elantra’s two biggest competitors lost more than 10,000 sales combined in the first half of the year.) The Elantra isn’t Hyundai’s only success story in 2022. The all-electric Ioniq 5 has racked up 3,551 sales between January and June, more than the Accord and the prius The problem? Despite its hatchback shape, the Ioniq 5 is actually classified as a commercial vehicle.

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2022 Honda Civic Touring and Toyota Corolla XSE
2022 Honda Civic Touring and Toyota Corolla XSE Photo by Elliot Alder

2. Toyota Corolla: 14,998, down 27 percent

In the infamous words of Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas, “So you tell me there’s a chance.” The Toyota Corolla has long been a top seller in Canada and has never finished a calendar year as the most popular car. But in the first six months of 2022, the Corolla is only 333 units behind the No. 1 car. Granted, the Corolla was at the top a year ago at this point and still managed to be more than 3,500 sales behind by the end of 2021.

1. Honda Civic: 15,331, down 24 percent

It’s a close race, one that Honda actually lost at this point a year ago. But who’s willing to bet against the Civic, Canada’s best-selling car for each of the last 24 years? Not since 2008 has the Civic been Canada’s best-selling vehicle overall – it currently trails four pickups and two SUVs for that title in 2022. In the auto sector, however, the Honda Civic is on track to celebrate a quarter-century as Canada’s market leader.


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