November results show Honda Civic top-selling car of 2021 in Canada

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Although it followed the Toyota Corolla a few times last year, the Civic is expected to take the top spot for its 24th consecutive year.

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In a month in which the supply-constrained Canadian auto industry suffered a sales decline of about 14 percent, Honda’s new 11th-generation Civic saw a major improvement.

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Despite declines in almost all of the brands that still release monthly figures (Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Kia, Lexus, Acura and Honda), the 9% year-over-year increase and 3,653 sales of the Civic was enough for Honda to secure a key victory. With 40,336 Civics in the first 11 months of 2021, the Honda is now 1,827 units ahead of the second-placed Toyota Corolla.

Barring an unlikely blockage at Honda dealerships or an unlikely 100% increase in Corolla sales, 2021 will be the Honda Civic‘s 24th consecutive year as the best-selling car in Canada.

While that should come as no surprise given the nameplate’s illustrious 23-year reign, a chaotic 2021 was full of challenges for the Civic built in Alliston, Ontario. Used to routine monthly triumphs, the Civic followed the Corolla four times in 2021: March, May, August and September.

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At the end of the second quarter, the Toyota Corolla was selling more than the Civic by 329 units. Three months later, by the end of the third quarter, the Corolla’s lead had grown to 655 vehicles.

1997 Honda Civic LX
1997 Honda Civic LX Photo by American Honda

Still, as in the past, Honda Canada found a way to run a high volume Q4.

When closely challenged by the Mazda 3 for much of 2010, the Civic demonstrated its dominance with a fourth quarter of 14,705 units, overtaking the Mazda 3 by more than 2 to 1 to end the year.

In 2013, the Hyundai Elantra became the main threat of the Honda Civic. But after the Elantra outperformed the Civic in four of the first five months of 2013, Honda used the fourth quarter to blast the Hyundai by a 53% gap in the last three months of the year.

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When it comes to the Civic, it seems Honda Canada doesn’t like to lose.

After getting remarkably used to wearing the crown, can you even blame Honda for being so focused on civic leadership? The Civic began its tenure as Canada’s automotive leader in 1998. Softwood lumber tariffs were the talk of the city, Google was just getting started, the big banks were trying to merge and the best driver. F1 driver of Canada, Lance Stroll, was born in Montreal. The Civic, meanwhile, was in its sixth edition in three years and its decade as a Canadian-built vehicle. Another decade later, in 2008, Honda Canada set the Civic’s all-time sales record: 72,463 units. That was enough to make the Civic not only Canada’s best car, but Canada’s best vehicle overall, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since.

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Honda Civic 2022
Honda Civic 2022 Photo by Matthieu Guy

With the decline of the Canadian passenger car market – and the world, for that matter – has also come a decline in Civic sales. Far from this record rate of 72,463 units, Honda is on track for less than 45,000 Civic sales in 2021. However, the market share of the Civic, a small market admittedly but nonetheless significant, stood at 13 % in the first three-quarters of the year, up nearly five points from its share in that record-breaking year of 2008. The Civic’s light may be fading, but it falters at a time when many of its competitors are completely stifled.

The rate of change in the world over the past quarter century is unprecedented in human history. The Civic has also seen its fair share of evolution during this time. It’s bigger, faster, stronger, safer and better equipped than ever. Yet adjusted for inflation, the 2022 Honda Civic at $ 24,465 is actually very slightly less expensive than the 1998 model. That’s before you even factor in the extra features, safety technology and engines that produce more power while consuming less fuel.

It’s that kind of value quotient that makes us think the Civic’s chances of repeating for a 25th consecutive year are definitely in Honda’s favor.

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