Even with market-wide headwinds in 2022, Canadian premium auto brand sales remained above 200,000 units. In spite of an inventory crunch, rising prices, and rising interest rates, luxury auto brands actually reduced by just 4 percent from 2021 levels, half the rate of decline reported by the entire auto industry.
That isn’t to say all premium marques avoided collapse. Land Rover, Canada’s ninth-ranked luxury brand in 2021, fell out of the top 10 in 2022 thanks to a 36-percent slide. Land Rover’s Jaguar partner, on the other hand, posted a 45-percent decline to 1,020 units, meaning they lost approximately 100 units per dealer.
The premium auto sector drove its combined market share to 14 per cent, up from 13 per cent a year ago and 12 per cent in pre-pandemic 2019. Perhaps the bigger news, however, revolves around the fact that there’s a new best-selling luxury auto brand in Canada: Mercedes-Benz.
Genesis: 5,749, a 26 percent increase
The Hyundai luxury offshoot, which now offers six models, is up two spots from a year ago, mainly because of its Genesis GV60 and GV70 utility vehicles. Hyundai launched the Genesis sedan in 2009 as the brand’s flagship car. The success of that model, which was sold over 3,000 times in each of its first three years, paved the way for the actual Genesis brand to rise 13 years later.
Lincoln: 7,616, an increase of 1%
Lincoln increased its production by one spot from 2021 to 84 units in 2022. Given market conditions, that represents a significant improvement. The brand no longer offers passenger cars. The brand’s four SUVs generate progressively higher sales volumes as vehicle dimensions shrink. Corsair Lincoln is the top seller, followed by the Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator.
Porsche: 9,195, an increase of 1%
Due to another banner year for Porsche, the company stayed in eighth place. Porsche broke its annual sales record in 2021 by 54 units. The 911’s 1,444 sales were also a record for Porsche Canada. The Macan and Cayenne generate two-thirds of Porsche’s Canadian volume, so sports cars are no longer Porsche’s bread and butter.
Volvo: 10,289, down 7%
In the last 17 years, Volvo has only reached five digits three times, led by a 6-percent rise from its top-selling XC60. Besides the XC60 and its 3,587 sales, Volvo sells only two other nameplates in significant numbers: 2,833 XC40s and 2,206 XC90s in 2022.
Acura: 11,412, down 30%
In line with the 30-per-cent year-over-year decline from its parent Honda brand, Acura sales tumbled 30 per cent in 2022, a loss of 4,995 sales. Acura’s 11,412 sales represents a 44-per-cent drop from 2018 levels. Honda/Acura supply woes weren’t quite as bad by the end of the year — Q4 sales were down just 23 per cent, rather than 40 per cent as in Q3. The worst outcome revolved around Acura’s best seller, the RDX, which in 2021 essentially accounted for half of Canada’s Acura sales. 2022 volume tumbled 40 per cent to 4,786 units.
Cadillac: 15,215, up 15%
Due to a dramatic increase in XT4 sales, Cadillac swapped places with Acura in 2022 – a brand that outsold Cadillac by 24 percent just one year ago. Acura’s small SUV, the RDX, fell 40 per cent, while Cadillac’s XT4 soared 90 per cent to 4,179 units. It didn’t hurt that Cadillac’s Escalade’s sales grew 6 per cent to 3,640.
Lexus: 25,024, down 3%
The brand managed to almost match its Canadian output for 2021 with a 19-percent surge in the fourth quarter. The 1,940 Lexus units sold in December were actually a record. Two Lexus utilities, the NX and RX, sold at least 9,000 units in 2022. In 2022, four out of every ten Lexus vehicles sold in Canada were hybrids.
BMW: 27,866, a 9 percent decline
Nine years after topping Canada’s premium brand sales charts with 31,710 sales, BMW is now Canada’s third-best-selling premium brand, in spite of their lower market share. BMW’s sales picture is very different now than it was a decade ago, however. In 2013, the 3 Series/4 Series family accounted for 41 per cent of the brand’s sales; four SUVs delivered 44 per cent. In 2022, seven SUVs bring in 70 per cent of BMW’s customers. The 3 Series/4 Series tandem that used to carry the load now account for one out of every five BMW cars sold in Canada.
Mercedes-Benz: 28,490, a 9 percent decline
In 2022, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 34,317 vehicles, but nearly 6,000 were commercial vans. Mercedes-Benz dominated Canada’s premium brand leaderboard for eight consecutive years before succumbing to a compatriot in 2022 with its huge line-up of SUVs and cars. As a result, Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling GLC model soared 26 percent to 8,661 units in 2022.
Audi: 29,137, an increase of 1 percent
Between 2005 and 2010, Audi Canada doubled its annual sales. By 2015, 2010’s 14,333 Audis appeared paltry — Audi had jumped another 87 per cent. By 2018, Audi was up a further 38 per cent. In other words, we could see this coming. Audi’s victory over Mercedes-Benz was narrow at only 647 units, but it’s unlikely to mark the end of the brand’s growth. Incidentally, passenger car sales growth of 26 per cent was what moved Audi ahead of 2021’s sales pace. The Q5 and Q3 remain the brand’s top sellers with 9,745 and 5,538 units, respectively.