Motor Mouth: What the (sometimes scary) numbers say about Canada’s new-car market
Ford’s Mustang Mach-E outsells its pony car namesake, Jaguar is in big trouble, and Tesla bucks a trend
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I like numbers. Numbers don’t have any feelings to be coddled, political position to be pushed, and, most importantly of all, numbers never pretend to be something they aren’t. They don’t waffle, they don’t lie, and they do not, in and of themselves, seek to either injure or flatter. They just, well, are.
Nonetheless, scour any database — Good Car Bad Car’s tabulation of every car sold in Canada, for instance — and if you’re as big a numbers nerd as me, some very interesting trends immediately pop out. To wit—
In fact, things are so bad that its F-Type sports car — playing in a relatively low sales segment — outsells its E-Pace compact luxury crossover , its entrant in the hottest segment in the land. Indeed, the only thing keeping the company on life support is its F-Pace mid-sized sport brute, of which it has sold 1,332 units over the first three quarters of 2021.
Making things worse is that Jaguar’s “Hail Mary” pass in all this tumult is to convert all its cars to fully electric by 2025, the quickest transition announced by any “major” manufacturer. Unfortunately, that future seems equally dim. Its current EV, the mid-sized I-Pace crossover , has averaged but seven sales per month so this year. If the company is really is going to dump all things internal-combustion, its electric portfolio would need to increase by 2,000 per cent over the next four years just to retain its current picayune sales. Even by Hail Mary standards, this one look like a long shot.
First, of all, who knew Alfa was still selling the 4C? Not me, and I’m supposed to be in the business of knowing all things automotive. Maybe they’re hard-to-sell leftovers. Maybe Alfa dealers are pushing them on unsuspecting — and unloved — family members. Whatever the cars, Good Car Bad Car says they’ve managed to sell 12 of the achingly-gorgeous-but-completely-impractical sports cars so far this year.
The truly sad part, however, is that its more mainstream models — the compact Giulia sedan and the deserves-to-be-more-popular Stelvio SUV — barely fared any better. The former hasn’t even hit the 200-unit mark yet this year while the latter, a hot-handling SUV, is not doing significantly better. I’m pretty sure that 667, the number of all vehicles sold so far this year bearing the House of Visconti logo, is not hardly what Alfa Romeo was looking for when it decided to breech Canadian shores back in 2014.
And, Lord, what’s keeping Fiat afloat in Canada? Stellantis’ other Italian brand sold but 74 cars in the first three-quarters of 2021, the vast preponderance of which were 124 Spiders, which, if you’ll remember, are nothing more than rebodied and remotored Mazda MX-5s. I suspect that FCA’s grand Italian experiment will soon be coming to an ignominious end.
Look all through the Canadian sales data and the most obvious trend is — no surprise here — that sedan sales are collapsing as a result of the crossover onslaught. Once-popular luxury cars, like Audi’s A8, sell in the single digits each month, BMW’s 7 Series barely more. Genesis hasn’t been able to give away a G90 recently, and Nissan’s Maxima barely shows up on sales sheets. Sedans are well and truly dead.