Small Cars Are Big in Canada


Photo: Flickr, CC
Less is More When it Comes to Cars in Canada, At Least When Compared to the US
Canadians buy smaller cars than Americans. The top 3 best selling cars in the country are the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, and the Mazda 3. Out of the top 10, seven are small cars. According to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants: "In 2008, 51.5 per cent of all light vehicles sold in Canada were entry-level -- i.e. small -- cars." But what explains such a big difference with the US?So Why Are Small Cars More Popular in Canada?
The two main potential factors are cultural and financial. Maybe Canadians just like small cars more, and seeing more of them on the roads, they feel comfortable buying them (a kind of intertia). Or maybe they are more environmentally conscious than Americans (or at least they'd like to think so)... On the financial side, Canadians aren't quite as rich as Americans. Big and luxury vehicles have historically been more expensive there compared to the US (even factoring in the exchange rate), and - big factor - fuel is more taxed in Canada.

I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn that higher fuel costs result in smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. Europe is a good example. This is why many treehuggers think that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best way to make things change, and as long as you reduce other taxes (f.ex. the income tax) by a similar amount, you are not adding to people's tax burden, and you are not trying to pick winners (like those corn ethanol subsidies from a few years ago that will be almost impossible to repeal, or the preference for hydrogen fuel cells that made CARB axe battery electric car programs like the GM EV1). Once fuel costs more, the best way to use less of it should win (that's the theory anyway).

The Best-Selling Small Cars in Canada
From the Globe and Mail, all dollar amounts in Canadian dollars:

1. Honda Civic

2008 sales: 72,463

Base price: $16,990

2. Toyota Corolla
2008 sales: 57,736
Base price: $14,835

3. Mazda3
2008 Sales: 50,317
Base price (sedan): $15,995

4. Toyota Yaris
2008 sales: 40,602
Base price (four-door sedan): $13,999

5. Chevrolet Cobalt
2008 sales: 33,754
Base price (sedan): $15,325

6. Hyundai Accent
2008 sales: 29,751
Base price (sedan): $14,295

7. Pontiac G5
2008 sales: 26,436
Base price (sedan): $15,745

8. Ford Focus
2008 sales: 23,654
Base price (sedan): $17,099

9. 2009 Toyota Matrix
2008 sales: 23,549
Base price: $15,975

10. Nissan Versa
2008 sales: 21,845
Base price (sedan): $12,498

Via Globe and Mail
More About Canada
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British Columbia Introduces Smart Carbon Tax

Tags: Canada | Less Is More | Transportation