Ford F-150 tops auto shopping preferences for Canadians: AutoTrader

Economy is high on the list of priorities for Canadian auto shoppers according to data released today from AutoTrader. The report notes that, “While luxury and mainstay car brands remained top favourites for Canadians, more economical options also gained in popularity.” The Honda Civic climbed four spots to the second most searched vehicle, and other economical mainstays, Toyota Corolla and Camry, rose several spots on the Top 20. The 2022 Top Searched vehicle list saw the Ford F-150 maintain its position as Canada’s most sought-after vehicle for the eighth year in a row, while searches for BMW M cars were bumped off the list in favour of an SUV, the Jeep Wrangler.

“Affordability continues to be an important factor for Canadian car shoppers, so we weren’t surprised to see the Honda Civic—a car known to deliver performance at an accessible price point—become even more relevant,” said Jodi Lai, Editor-in-Chief, AutoTrader. “We also saw Canadians staying loyal to many of their favourite vehicles, with the Ford F-150 coming out on top for the eighth consecutive year as the top searched vehicle in Canada and the only truck on the list.”

AutoTrader mines and analyzes its search data from 11 million Canadian searches each year to capture “the pulse of Canadian car buyers’ interests and provide insights into their most coveted car selections.”

2022 Top Searched Vehicles in Canada

  1. Ford F-150
  2. Honda Civic
  3. BMW 3 Series
  4. Ford Mustang
  5. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  6. Porsche 911
  7. Toyota RAV4
  8. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  9. Chevrolet Corvette
  10. Jeep Wrangler

“2022 has been exceptionally different to previous years—with higher costs of living, vehicle shortages, and economic pressures top of mind,” said Ian MacDonald, Chief Marketing Officer, AutoTrader. “However, it is encouraging that Canadians’ vehicle purchase intentions remained consistent, as they looked for ways to make financially-savvy decisions, including a willingness to be flexible on vehicle selection, and spending more time researching and leveraging tools like the marketplace in their car shopping journey.”

Provincial search data revealed key regional preferences for car shoppers across the country, with BC “edging away from luxury,” with the Civic knocking BMW M-series off the list; Alberta choosing four SUVs as the most searched; Saaskatchewan stayed faithful to trucks with no luxury vehicles on their list, while in Manitoba, SUVs overtook cars in popularity.

Cars continued to dominate in Ontario, taking up 80 per cent of the region’s Top 10. In Quebec, 2022 marked the first place return of the perennial favourite Honda Civic, reclaiming the top spot from the Porsche 911—the surprise favourite of 2021. Atlantic Canada continued to place less importance on luxury in 2022, proving the 2021 regional rise of SUVs to be short lived, with the elimination of the Toyota Highlander making room for the Corolla in this year’s Top 10.

2023 Trend Outlook

AutoTrader’s ongoing consumer research explored how car shoppers are navigating the aftermath of the microchip shortage, amid inflation and cost-of-living increases.  Observations include:

  1. High Gas Prices Boost Electric Vehicle Interest
    Electric vehicles (EVs) have been climbing in popularity for years, with interest soaring to new heights in 2022. When gas prices skyrocketed in March, searches for EVs on AutoTrader spiked too, increasing 89 per cent year-over-year.
  2. Car Shoppers Adapt to Supply Issues
    This year Canadians continued to face higher vehicle prices, less availability and longer wait times, as impacts of the microchip shortage persisted, but Canadian vehicle intenders proved they were ready to come out on top, adapting to the new market norms, with 33 per cent willing to change the vehicle brand and model they were planning to buy (up from only 20 per cent in 2021), and 23 per cent willing to pay more due to the shortage.
  3. Canadians Turn to Used Vehicles as Prices Start to Soften
    Last year, the impacts of the global microchip shortage strained new vehicle supply, prompting more Canadians to consider buying used. This trend continued to grow in 2022, as research conducted on AutoTrader revealed a third (36%) of Canadian vehicle intenders were willing to switch from purchasing new to used, a 10 per cent jump from 2021.
  4. Purchase Intent Remains Steady
    Despite economic uncertainty, AutoTrader’s research indicates a promising outlook for the automotive industry. The research showed that Canadians’ intentions to purchase a vehicle in the next six months actually increased to 24 per cent in October 2022, compared to March of this year (18%).
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