There’s a theory going around, mostly correct, that says the Canadian automotive market is more price-sensitive than the U.S. automotive market. Rather than being turned on by the car, the theory says, Canadians are turned on by the financing deal. Among a group of decent automobiles, the vehicle with the best financing arrangement garners the sale. This theory makes complete sense in almost every analysis of Canadian auto sales, but when looking at sales of Japanese utility vehicles, it falls apart just a little bit.
Have a look at the Honda Pilot. Now look at its luxury-oriented partner, the Acura MDX. True, MDX sales plummeted in October 2010, but only compared with a massively extraordinary October 2009. Pilot sales dipped only a bit but were still 201 units behind the MDX’s total.
Now consider the Toyota Highlander. You don’t even see it on this chart, but its 225 sales pale in comparison to the 659 put up by its luxury-oriented partner, the Lexus RX. The 2011 Lexus RX350 has a base price of $47,050; the 2011 Toyota Highlander has a base price of $31,500. The 2011 Acura MDX has a base price of $52,690; the 2011 Honda Pilot has a base price of $34,820. Is this a blemish on the price-sensitivity theory or representative of the fact that Canadians simply prefer the 2011 Ford Edge to the Pilot and Highlander but don’t prefer the 2011 Lincoln MKX to the RX and MDX?