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A few surprises on the Top 10 best-selling cars list Add to ...

Hyundai's Elantra compact was the No. 1 selling passenger car in Canada through February, displacing such perennial sales leaders as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.

Meanwhile, the Ford F-Series pickup truck was the best-selling light truck, according to the latest figures from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

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"The new Elantra is extremely well received, but it also appears to be drawing from Hyundai Accent sales as they are off by 22.5 per cent. You win one, you lose one I guess," says Dennis DesRosiers in a note to clients. "The Honda Civic was down again in February but recovered somewhat from a disastrous January and was the second best-selling car in February."

Another surprise on the Top 10 list: the Volkswagen Jetta, No. 5 through the end of February, with sales up 141.1 per cent.

"VW has changed its pricing strategy trying to become more of a mass market seller in Canada and the Jetta is the first sign of that their strategy is working," adds DesRosiers.

The Top 10 list has some other surprises, too. Three Detroit-sourced passenger cars are now in the Top 10 - the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fusion and Ford Focus - and two import crossovers are among the Top 10 best-selling light trucks - the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe. Toyota's RAV4 broke into the top 10 light trucks in February.

"If you look back through the last 10 years of these reports, it was very unusual to see more than one or two Detroit three vehicles in the Top 10 list of passenger cars and the opposite for light trucks with import nameplate vehicles. This is changing," adds DesRosiers.

The next few months will be at least as interesting. In April, Honda will introduce a renovated version of the Honda Civic, which should be a boost to Civic sales. Ford will begin selling the new Focus in big numbers this year, too. Hyundai will launch a new version of the Accent and Mazda has a new, highly efficient engine planned for the Mazda3, due this fall.

Without much doubt, this is shaping up to be one of the most competitive years ever for sales of passenger cars. Anyone making a prediction on which nameplate will finish on top is at best making a wild guess. It will be a race to the end.

Here are the top 10 cars and light trucks through February of this year in Canada:

Passenger Cars



Vehicle

2011

2010

% gain/loss

1

Hyundai Elantra

6,212

3,497

77.6%

2

Toyota Corolla

4,121

4,536

-9.1%

3

Honda Civic

3,926

6,009

-34.7%

4

Mazda3

3,514

6,284

-44.1%

5

Chevrolet Cruze

3,264



NA

6

Volkswagen Jetta

3,019

1,252

141.1%

7

Toyota Matrix

2,453

2,265

8.3%

8

Hyundai Accent

2,427

3,201

-24.2%

9

Ford Focus

2,397

2,394

-0.1%

10

Ford Fusion

1,751

1,886

-7.2%



Light Trucks



Vehicle

2011

2010

% gain/loss

1

Ford F-Series

10,882

11,084

-1.8%

2

Dodge Caravan

9,121

7,312

24.74%

3

Dodge Ram

8,047

5,987

34.4%

4

Ford Escape

5,765

4,497

28.2%

5

GMC Sierra

5,112

5,040

1.4%

6

Chevrolet Silverado

4,695

4,598

2.1%

7

Dodge Journey

4,129

2,786

48.2%

8

Honda CR-V

3,345

3,452

3.1%

9

Hyundai Santa Fe

2,684

3,674

-26.9%

10

Chevrolet Equinox

2,598

2,428

7.0%

Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants

*****

Correction: The Toyota RAV4 was in the top 10 for February, but not for the 2011 year-to-date list. The story above has been corrected.

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