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Top 10 best-selling cars and trucks in 2012

Ford sold more than 100,000 F-Series pickup trucks in 2012.

David Zalubowski/AP Photo

We have the final Top 10 numbers for 2012. Now we can call out the winners and losers. We can also discuss the whys and wherefores and what happened.

First, the winners. Number one overall is the Ford F-Series pickup. For the first time in history, Ford of Canada sold more than 100,000 units of one model – 106,358 F-Series pickups, to be exact. In fact, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says this is the first time any model has topped 100,000 in sales during a single year. Sales of the F-Series were up 10.4 per cent on the year.

How important is the F to Ford of Canada? This one vehicle line accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the company's 2012 sales. On the subject of important vehicles to Ford Canada, don't overlook the Escape crossover, either. It accounted for 16 per cent of the 275,953 vehicles Ford moved into Canadian driveways last year. Add in the Ford Focus compact car, which accounted for 10 per cent of Ford Canada's sales, and we see that just three vehicles accounted for two-thirds of everything the company sold last year.

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Like Ford of Canada, the Chrysler Group is pretty much a three-vehicle company, as well – those three being the Ram pickup, the Dodge Journey crossover and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.

The Ram pickup was certainly a winner. Sales were up 7.5 per cent last year (67,634), which means the Ram accounted for 28 per cent of Chrysler Canada's 2012 sales (242,224). While the Journey did not have a stellar year in terms of increased sales (down 0.5 per cent), this crossover still accounted for 12 per cent of everything Chrysler sold to Canadians. The third Chrysler pillar was the Grand Caravan, which represented one in five Chryslers sold here (21 per cent to be exact). Like Ford, about two-thirds of Chrysler's sales to Canadians were comprised of just three models.

Of course, another winner was the Honda Civic, Canada's best-selling passenger car for 15 consecutive years. With 64,962 sold last year, Civic sales were up 17.9 per cent on the year.

The Civic is even more important to the Honda brand than the F-Series is to Ford. This one small car line accounted for almost 50 per cent of all Honda brand sales in Canada last year (131,558). The Civic is clearly a winner. (I've written about the remake of the 2013 Civic this week in Globe Drive. If you want insight into how serious Honda is about the Civic, have a read.)

Honda's CR-V compact crossover had an excellent year, too; sales were up 33 per cent to 33,309. The CR-V accounted for 25 per cent of Honda Canada's Honda brand sales last year. Where Ford and Chrysler are heavily dependent on three models, Honda Canada succeeds of fails on the popularity of just two models which account for three-quarters of all Honda brand sales.

Here's one other winner to single out of the pack: Toyota's Camry. Sales were up 47.6 per cent (to 18,203), so the Camry is now Canada's most popular mid-size sedan.

As for market segments, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, which provided the Top 10 numbers in a note to clients, points out that the market for large luxury sport-utility vehicles grew the fastest of any individual segment (sales up 34.1 per cent) last year. Compact luxury SUVs took second place (up 25.1 per cent).

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"This reflects Canada's rapid move to increased luxury product consumption, and it bodes well for luxury and SUV segments," notes the consultants in a note to clients, adding, "Collective luxury share grew to 9.7 per cent of the market, while sales of luxury vehicles (all luxury segments) totalled 162,960 units, an increase of 10.2 per cent over 2011.

"Luxury segments now comprise the fastest growth segment cohort in Canada. If you add large SUVs into the luxury mix (and some do), 2012 luxury sales topped 200,000 units for the first time ever."

Ford's Lincoln premium brand is in the early stages of a complete overhaul, as is Honda's Acura upscale brand. Given the explosive growth in the luxury segment, both brands could eventually drive big sales increases for Ford of Canada and Honda Canada -- if the revamps prove even moderately successful.

What's also clear is that Chrysler needs to move aggressively on the premium vehicle front. Even with strong pillars like the Ram, Journey and Grand Caravan, without a viable and growing luxury presence, Chrysler's sales are sure to stall without a lineup of attractive offerings for well-heeled buyers.

Alfa Romeo? Did anyone say Alfa Romeo? If the Chrysler Group wants to keep growing, Alfa just may be part of the answer – that and a move upscale for the Chrysler brand itself.

Here's a look at Canada's top 10 cars and light trucks for all of 2013:

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Passenger Cars

  20122011% gain/loss
1Honda Civic64,96255,09017.9%
2Hyundai Elantra50,95044,97013.3%
3Toyota Corolla40,90636,66311.6%
5Chevrolet Cruze32,62833,900-3.8%
6Ford Focus27,93625,7368.5%
7Volkswagen Jetta26,90426,7490.6%
8Hyundai Accent22,58122,2801.4%
9Toyota Camry18,20312,33447.6%
10Ford Fusion16,69818,404-9.3%

Light Trucks

  20122011% gain/loss
1Ford F-Series106,35896,32510.4%
2Ram pickup67,63462,9297.5%
3Dodge Caravan51,55253,406-3.5%
4Ford Escape44,09944,248-0.3%
5GMC Sierra42,71246,680-8.5%
6Chevrolet Silverado35,94340,523-11.3%
7Honda CR-V33,33925,07633.0%
8Dodge Journey28,88829,021-0.5%
9Toyota RAV425,94221,55020.4%
10 Hyundai Santa Fe23,39424,121-3.0%

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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