Canada’s 10 best-selling SUV brands in 2022’s first-half

During a six-month period of severe supply shortages, these car brands were still delivering around 1,700 SUVs/crossovers per day

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425,000 SUVs and crossovers were sold in Canada in the first half of the year. Five car brands that sell the most commercial vehicles account for almost half of this volume.

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But who are they? And what other automakers carve out a group of top 10 finishers who control over 70 percent of the Canadian SUV market? First and foremost, these are brands that are not traditionally referred to as house brands – not as the Detroit Three – but as so-called import brands.

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Rewind 15 years: Across Canada’s SUV spectrum, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group owned 52 percent of a booming commercial vehicle market. Don’t think for a minute that America’s manufacturers lost their control of the auto market because they couldn’t compete on the passenger car side of the ledger. Together, these three manufacturers have seen their share of Canada’s commercial vehicle market fall to just 29 percent over the past decade and a half.

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Did you know in 2007 that Hyundai would sell almost three times more SUVs and crossovers than Chevrolet by 2022? Or that Mazda’s share of the Canadian SUV market would be 5 percent, two points better than GMC’s? Even if you saw that coming, there’s certainly no record of anyone predicting that Dodge would sell fewer SUVs than Porsche.

In other words, the brands we least associated with SUVs and crossovers now dominate Canada’s SUV/crossover market. And what a market it is. Over 55 percent of all cars sold are now commercial vehicles. (Pickups, minivans, vans, and “light trucks” account for 83 percent of all auto sales.) Even during a six-month period riddled with severe supply shortages, Canada’s top 10 best-selling SUV brands stalled, delivering around 1,700 SUVs/crossovers per Day.

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These are the top-selling SUV brands of 2022 in Canada at the midpoint.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Executive
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Executive Photo by Renita Naraine

10. Volkswagen: 18,025, up 15 percent

In a market that had long since gone crazy for SUVs, Volkswagen Canada produced just a fifth of its total volume with commercial vehicles six years ago. That was Volkswagen Pre-Atlas; the Volkswagen still languishes with the first generation Tiguan. Volkswagen Canada now produces 82 percent of its sales from commercial vehicles, and in the first half of 2022, Volkswagen Canada reported 43 percent more SUV/crossover sales than in Everyone from 2016.

9. Subaru: 18,951, down 19 percent

If only every result at Subaru was as sweet as the Outback. Sales of the sixth generation Outback increased 20 percent in the second quarter and 17 percent in the first half to 5,838 units. Unfortunately, Subaru’s other trio of commercial vehicles — Ascent, Forester, Crosstrek — plummeted 28 percent, a loss of more than 5,000 sales during the first six months of the year.

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8. Kia: 20,396, down 17 percent

While Kia’s Korean partner brand (Hyundai) had enough SUVs to increase the brand’s share of Canada’s commercial vehicle market, Kia hasn’t had the same luck. Take the Sorento, for example, which has secured a high-volume foundation for the Kia brand over the past decade. Sorento sales fell 19 percent to 4,169 units in the first half of the year; 41 percent to just 1,823 sales in the second quarter. In 2020, the first pandemic-hit year, Kia actually gained more market share than any other brand in Canada.

2023 Mazda CX-50
2023 Mazda CX-50 Photo by Clayton Seams

7. Mazda: 20,922, down 21 percent

If Mazda’s 23 percent drop in CX-branded models in the second quarter wasn’t bad enough, imagine what it would have been like if Mazda hadn’t added an all-new model into the mix. Aside from the CX-50 and Mazda, commercial vehicle sales actually fell 29 percent between April and June. The biggest problem wasn’t Mazda’s best-selling CX-5, but rather the smaller CX-30, whose sales fell 38 percent to 3,705 in the first half of the year.

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6. Honda: 25,661, down 30 percent

Honda has repeatedly defined 2022 as the year of the SUV, but that’s certainly not because the brand is selling enough of them. (2022 is Honda’s YOTSUV because of the HR-V, CR-V and finally the new Pilot debut.) Before transitioning to new iterations of popular nameplates, Honda lost 11,020 sales in the first half. The CR-V remained Canada’s second best-selling SUV/crossover, luckily for Honda.

5. Nissan: 29,254, down 32 percent

Among Canada’s top 18-volume SUV brands at the start of 2022, none have fallen further from the pace of 2021 than Nissan. The main culprit is the brand’s longtime No. 1 seller, the Rogue, whose sales plummeted 47 percent in the first half. That drop alone cost Nissan Canada dealerships nearly 1,400 sales per month for the first six months of 2022.

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2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interurban

4. Jeep: 31,733, up 17 percent

It’s not so strange today to think of brands that don’t care about passenger cars — Lincoln and Buick are now SUV-only brands — but Jeep was a light-truck-only brand long before it was fashionable. Iconic nameplates like the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee take the heavyweight role at Jeep. The duo generates 7 out of 10 Jeep sales in Canada. And while the industry is in turmoil, Jeep is somehow producing (and selling) more vehicles this year than last.

3. Ford: 43,637, up 20 percent

America’s top brand among Canada’s top-selling SUV brands has excelled in the first half of 2022 despite a practical downtime in the small-car crossover space. The soon-to-be-dying EcoSport contributed just 955 sales in the vibrant entry-level segment in the first half of the year, but Ford produced big numbers thanks to the contributions of seven other nameplates: Bronco, Bronco Sport, Edge, Expedition, Explorer, Mustang Mach-E and the best-selling Escape. Ford’s #1 best-seller is a pickup – 50,440 F-Series pickups were sold in the first six months of 2022.

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2. Hyundai: 43,658, down 6 percent

In an industry that has declined more than 11 percent in the first six months of 2022, Hyundai’s 6 percent decline far outstrips the industry as a whole. With the help of the new all-electric Ioniq 5 hatchback, Hyundai’s share of the Canadian commercial vehicle market grew from 9.8 percent last year to 10.3 percent in 2022. Hyundai’s top SUV is the subcompact Kona with 13,673 sales in January and June.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Photo by Brian Harper

1. Toyota: 51,355, down 13 percent

Even with a RAV4 down 24 percent year-on-year in the first half, Toyota remains by far the clear #1 SUV and crossover in Canada. In fact, the RAV4 – alone – outperforms all but the top 5 SUV brands. In addition, while the RAV4 (Canada’s top-selling SUV) clearly propels Toyota to segment-breaking heights, Toyota’s broad lineup exercises much control outside of the RAV4’s influence. 4Runner, C-HR, Corolla Cross, Highlander, Sequoia and Venza combined sold 22,676 in the first half.


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