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Driving it home

Canada's top 10 cars and light trucks through the first quarter of 2012 Add to ...

Perhaps we should call this phenomenon the schizophrenia of the new car marketplace.

Consider: through the first quarter of this year (January to March), sales of fuel-efficient subcompact cars, or “B” cars, were up a stunning 32.2 per cent, while sales of almost-as-thrifty compact cars (“C” cars) were up a far more modest 4.8 per cent. And sales of thirstier intermediate cars, or “D” cars, were up 27.6 per cent.

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“So it appears that passenger car intenders are moving further down-market from C-sized vehicles to B-sized vehicles, both of which are very fuel efficient, though B-cars are even more fuel efficient than Cs,” says auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers in a note to clients.

Meanwhile, reasonably frugal small pickup sales were down 13.1 per cent, though this can be attributed solely to the fact that Ford of Canada no longer sells the Ranger.

That said, DesRosiers notes, “some of the least fuel efficient vehicles are in the luxury/large/sport segments and they are up 8.6 per cent in March and are up 17.3 per cent YTD [year to date]”

Crazy? Or are Canadians simply buying what they need, tempered by what they can afford and influenced by what’s available? We can say this: Some of the more interesting new entries in Canada have been subcompacts such as the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. All offer plenty of car at transaction prices in the $15,000 to $18,000 range. The Accent is, in fact, Canada’s No. 8 best-selling car. Perhaps buyers are simply responding to the value-laden subcompacts now littered throughout the B segment.

Speaking of hot sellers, the latest Top 10 list from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants notes that Canada’s No. 1 passenger car remains the Honda Civic, followed by the Hyundai Elantra and a long list of other compact cars. The Ford F-Series is the best-selling light truck and best-selling vehicle overall, notes DesRosiers.

Here’s a look at Canada’s top 10 cars and light trucks through March 2012:

Passenger Cars (Click here for a picture gallery: In pictures: Canada's top-selling cars through March 2012 )



Car

2012

2011

% gain/loss

1

Honda Civic

14,281

11,957

19.4%

2

Hyundai Elantra

10,864

9,976

8.9%

3

Toyota Corolla

8,954

8,566

4.5%

4

Mazda3

8,053

6,370

26.4%

5

Chevrolet Cruze

6,747

7,513

-10.3%

6

Ford Focus

5,222

4,571

14.2%

7

Volkswagen Jetta

4,996

5,464

-8.6%

8

Hyundai Accent

4,866

4,375

11.2%

9

Toyota Camry

4,472

1,720

160.0%

10

Hyundai Sonata

3,531

3,901

-9.5%



Light Trucks (Click here for a picture gallery: In pictures: Canada's top-selling light trucks through March 2012 )



Truck

2012

2011

% gain/loss

1

Ford F-Series

22,978

20,364

12.8%

2

Ram pickup

15,608

13,154

18.7%

3

Dodge Caravan

12,051

14,313

-15.8%

4

GMC Sierra

9,000

9,543

-5.7%

5

Honda CR-V

8,870

6,658

33.2%

6

Ford Escape

8,282

9,655

-14.2%

7

Chevrolet Silverado

7,673

8,524

-10.0%

8

Dodge Journey

6,465

7,616

-15.1%

9

Hyundai Santa Fe

4,808

4,830

-0.5%

10

Chevrolet Equinox

4,782

5,024

-4.8%

Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants

Correction: An earlier online version of this story contained incorrect sales figures for the Hyundai Sonata in 2011. This has been amended.

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