What the Numbers of Vehicles Sold in Canada Tell Us

I was looking over the data for vehicle sales in Canada and the most interesting part of the data is that trucks seem to be the biggest sellers in Canada.

In 2016 the top three vehicles sold in Canada were the Ford F-150, the Dodge Ram pick up truck, and the Honda Civic. The data compiled at the halfway point of 2017 shows that the Ford F-150 is still in first place.

Second place for 2017 sales in Canada are somewhat debatable. If you combine the sales of Chevy and GMC pick up trucks then that is the clear second besting selling vehicle in Canada and the Dodge Ram truck is in third place.

While gasoline prices are at some of the highest prices (around a dollar-40 a litre) ever in Canada, particularly out here on the west coast, the biggest selling vehicles are pick up trucks – nearly 200,000 pick up trucks were sold at the halfway point in 2017 (sales data for the second half of 2017 has not yet been released).

The argument could be made that trucks are not nearly the gas guzzlers that they were in the past. However, although that may be somewhat true, the fact is, the 2017 F-150 still consumes more than 12 litres per 100 kilometre when driven in town making the second best selling Dodge Ram truck look like a complete gas hog as it burns through 17 litres per 100 kilometre. The Chevy or GMC trucks are relative gas misers at 13.4 litres per 100 kilometre of town driving.

So what do these sales figures mean? First, they tell me that taxing something like gasoline has little to no impact on changing human behaviour. At a time when gas prices, particularly the taxes on gasoline are higher than ever, the top three best selling vehicles are pick up trucks…people are clearly willing to pay rather than change their behaviour.

Another thing the sales numbers tell me is that car/truck companies are putting their energy and efforts in the wrong place when it comes to electric vehicles. Why are they spending millions upon millions researching and developing compact and sub-compact electric vehicles when clearly, people want pick up trucks?!

Consider that for all of 2017 Nissan sold only 11,000 Leafs and there are now approximately 30,000 total electric vehicles on the roads in Canada. 11,000 out of two million car and truck sales in 2017 were Nissan Leafs.

So maybe Nissan, GM, Ford, and Tesla (and other car/truck manufacturers) should take a closer look at the buying habits of Canadians and work at developing an all-electric pick up truck for the Canadian market. The numbers indicate that pick up trucks are what Canadian want!

And one final point – if you think that Canada is too cold for EVs to be successful, consider that last year in Norway electric vehicles accounted for 52% of all new vehicle sales. Norway’s climate is not that different than Canada’s.


  1. I wondered about the effect of the cold on electric vehicles! Did you see the article in todays province paper about the line ups at recharging places? Brutal!

  2. car dealers are really not interested in selling electric vehicles due to their low cost of repairs and maintenance – until the government figures that out they will happily continue to sell SUV’s (with bigger profit margins than cars). How about everyone who buys an SUV pays an extra $1000 or $2000 tax which goes to EV incentives?
    Most people (99%!!) charge their electric vehicles at home for about 30 cents (which gets them an additional 40 km of range)….EV stations have long lineups because people want to charge there for FREE!

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