Measuring the Canadian popularity of the newest, freshest, most-hyped automotive nameplates in 2017
– January 2016-August 2017 Sales: 1,065 – Launched in limited markets in the dead of winter, the Chevrolet Bolt produced its thousandth sale in August 2017. South of the border, the Bolt has proven more popular than its plug-in hybrid sibling, the Volt, in July and August. In Canada, the more widely available Volt outsells the Bolt by more than two-to-one.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
– February 2017-August 2017 Sales: 331 – On sale since late winter, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is intended to challenge the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. With Italian flair and a jaw-dropping Quadrifoglio performance variant, the Giulia is an enticing proposition. But a limited dealer network and reliability concerns will continue to temper demand.
– May 2017-August 2017 Sales: 2,437 – Launched this past spring, the Turkey-built Toyota C-HR features a handful of tremendously avant-garde design elements from Toyota. It’s not surprising that the C-HR was originally intended to be a Scion, before Scion was killed off. The C-HR is growing in popularity, boosted by abundant standard safety gear and engaging handling. 526 copies were sold in August.
– August 2016-August 2017 Sales: 752 – Available for slightly more than one year, the Maserati Levante is by far the brand’s best-selling model in Canada. By no means a hugely common vehicle – it was never intended to be – the Levante nevertheless outsells Maserati’s increasingly popular car range. The Levante produced 63 percent of Maserati’s sales in the first two-thirds of 2017. As a result, Maserati has already set an annual sales record in Canada, with four months to go.
– September 2016-August 2017 Sales: 604 – Less costly than the Cadillac CT6 but still operating in a shrinking category, the Lincoln Continental stepped in with an old name to replace the MKS. Lincoln sold 432 Continentals in the first eight months of 2017—the MKS hadn’t generated that many sales in an entire calendar year since 2012.
– August 2016-August 2017 Sales: 1,284 – With slightly more than a year under its belt, the Infiniti QX30 – essentially a Mercedes-Benz GLA in new clothes – has become Infiniti’s fourth-best-selling model. Infiniti relies on larger crossovers, the QX50 and QX60, for half the brand’s Canadian sales. Mercedes-Benz has sold 2,506 GLAs so far this year.
Fiat 124 Spider
– July 2016-August 2017 Sales: 798 – A twin of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Fiat 124 Spider sells roughly once for every two sales of the Mazda. The benefit for Fiat is a lineup that now includes a sports car befitting the range. For Mazda, the partnership with Fiat helps with the high costs of developing a bespoke rear-wheel-drive platform. Total MX-5/Spider sales are up 72 percent in Canada so far this year.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
– August 2017 Sales: 13 – Launched in Canadian showrooms in late August, the Land Rover Range Rover Velar, a road-focused Range Rover with stand-out styling, hasn’t yet had time to pick up steam. Don’t expect it to take over from the Range Rover Sport as the brand’s most popular model, but it’s yet more evidence that Land Rover feels it can furnish every SUV niche with a distinct, if similarly priced, new model.
– May 2017-August 2017 Sales: 1,904 – Finally, it’s a three-row family-sized SUV from Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Atlas is changing the landscape at Volkswagen, helped in a big way by the second-generation Tiguan launched in August. Utility vehicles accounted for 23 percent of Volkswagen Canada’s sales in August 2017, up from 20 percent a year ago. Expect that 23-percent figure to rapidly rise.
– August 2016-August 2017 Sales: 177 – The addition of an SUV has completely altered the sales picture at Volkswagen’s British luxury brand, Bentley. The Bentley Bentayga has produced only 82 sales so far this year in Canada, but that’s an outrageous total for the Bentley brand. In the first eight months of 2016, Bentley had only sold 71 new vehicles in total. The Bentayga accounts for six-in-ten Bentley sales.
– May 2017-August 2017 Sales: 3,704 – Labelled as the Nissan Rogue Sport in the United States, the Nissan Qashqai uses its global name in Canada, where sales have quickly shot through the roof. In August, for instance, the Qashqai was Nissan Canada’s second-best-selling model, albeit half as popular as the Nissan Rogue. Combined, the duo produced 44 percent of Nissan’s Canadian sales last month.
– May 2017-August 2017 Sales: 93 – August 2017 was the Lexus LC’s fourth month on sale and the fourth month of increased volume. 32 copies were sold last month. Globally, Lexus has lofty sales goals for the new high-brow GT car. In the U.S., for instance, Lexus wants to sell 400 copies per month, aided by some of the most eye-catching styling to come out of Lexus since the LFA.
– August 2016-August 2017 Sales: 389 – With more than a year under its belt, the Volvo S90 continues to prove substantially more popular than its predecessor, the aged S80, was before its departure. But a high-priced Volvo sedan in a shrinking market is not destined to become a common car. For every S90 sold, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi sell 17 copies of the E-Class, CLS, 5 Series, and A6.
– February 2017-August 2017 Sales: 269 – Launched in regular and Cross Country form, the Volvo V90 is a stunning large wagon with little direct competition. But there is competition—it’s called the burgeoning luxury SUV/crossover sector. Volvo alone sells more than six XC90s for every V90, not to mention thousands of sales from comparably priced XC90 rivals.
– July 2017-August 2017 Sales: 92 – After a hiatus that lasted more than a decade, Honda finally brought back the Acura NSX as an all-wheel-drive hybrid supercar. Clearly not destined to be a high-volume model, the NSX’s job is to highlight Acura’s engineering know-how, and to draw attention to vehicles such as the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. While Acura has sold 42 NSXs so far this year, compatriot Nissan has sold 104 copies of the GT-R.
– August 2016-August 2017 Sales: 1,138 – Though not a new nameplate – the second Infiniti Q60 is a successor to a Q60 formerly known as the G7 and G35 – the relaunch of the all-new Q60 represented a new era for Infiniti coupes. Already in 2017 Infiniti has sold 828 copies of the Q60. Over the previous three calendar years, Infiniti was averaging barely more than 400 annual Q60 sales.
– July 2016-August 2017 Sales: 5,820 – The first-generation Honda Ridgeline lingered for so long that it essentially was forgotten in the stable of midsize trucks. The new Honda Ridgeline launched last summer isn’t a top-selling truck, not by any measure, but it’s on track for its best year since 2006, the first full year for the first Ridgeline.
– April 2016-August 2017 Sales: 3,163 – Just becoming old enough now to lose its new model status, the China-built Buick Envision is Buick’s middle-rung utility vehicle. The Envision isn’t a sales hit, limited as it is by a high base price and a low-power base engine. But as Buick rapidly loses car sales – the brand’s car volume is down 60 percent this year – Buick is reliant on utilities like the Envision to pick up the slack.
– June 2016-August 2017 Sales: 925 – In a Jaguar lineup that’s been thoroughly revamped over the last few years, the Jaguar XE sits at the entry point of the lineup. The XE now easily outsells Jaguar’s two other sedans – combined – though it remains a comparatively small player in a range dominated by Jaguar’s new SUV.
Land Rover Discovery
– May 2017-August 2017 Sales: 337 – In a way, the new Land Rover Discovery isn’t an all-new nameplate. The Discovery represents a return to an old nameplate for Land Rover after years of changing “Discovery” to LR3 or LR4. The first 337 copies of the Discovery were sold over the summer months in a period that saw 311 LR4s last year.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
– August 2017 Sales: 45 – Launched in August, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio will likely become the brand’s top seller if past performance by similar niche brands is anything to go by. Consider Porsche, Bentley, Jaguar, and Maserati as brands which launched SUVs and suddenly altered the entire perspective of the company. In its first month, the Stelvio accounted for 37 percent of Alfa Romeo’s volume.
– May 2016-August 2017 Sales: 3,131 – Jaguar doesn’t sell many cars. But the Jaguar brand now features an SUV, the F-Pace, that has totally reinvigorated a brand that, even with a fresh XF and new XE, attracts fewer than 200 Canadian car customers per month. In addition to the cars, Jaguar sells 230 copies of the F-Pace per month. The F-Pace generates nearly six-in-ten Jaguar sales and might soon become Jaguar Land Rover’s best-selling model in Canada.
– January 2016-August 2017 Sales: 689 – A sibling of the distinctly more popular Kia Niro, the Hyundai Ioniq isn’t widely available in its distinct forms at all Hyundai dealers across Canada. As a competitor for the Toyota Prius (2,435 sales so far this year) the Ioniq comes to battle with superior fuel economy figures but far less name recognition.
– February 2016-August 2017 Sales: 954 – Kia sold 954 copies of the new Niro in its first seven months on sale. Kia wants to call it a crossover, and in part, the crossover-like styling is part of the reason for its growing popularity. But remember, the Niro doesn’t even offer all-wheel drive. Another Kia crossover wannabe, the Soul, likewise challenges subcompact crossovers without available AWD and certainly doesn’t suffer for it. 7,883 Souls have been sold so far this year.
New vehicle launches are a dime a dozen, but less common are new vehicle launches of all-new, never-before-seen nameplates. I mean, it’s not every day an automaker launches its first SUV or a reborn supercar.
We wanted to know how successful the newest vehicles are, so we’ve compiled sales figures for all the most recently launched models, including a few that are, truthfully, simply long-awaited replacements.