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Canada Family Car Buying Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Family Car Buying market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report focuses on family car buying in the Canadian market. While there is no official definition of a “family car”, for the purposes of this report Mintel defines family cars as vehicles large enough to comfortably transport a family of four or more people. This includes midsize cars, full-size cars, midsize and full-size SUVs, midsize and full-size crossovers and minivans. Additionally, several models of pickup trucks and conversion/cargo vans are family-oriented.

Key points included

  • Minivans lack appeal
  • Family cars should provide a lot
  • Viewpoints on family vehicle characteristics differ by gender

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Andrew Zmijak, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Most Canadians planning on purchasing a vehicle in the next three years are considering sedans or SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles). Parents in particular are more likely to consider SUVs, minivans, wagons/hatchbacks and full-size vans, which are typically synonymous with ‘family vehicles’. Additionally, most intend to use the next vehicle they purchase for things such as shopping, running errands, road trips, commuting to work, driving for pleasure and for driving their family. According to Canadians, safety, comfort and reliability are the top family vehicle characteristics. Parents are more likely to exhibit a greater interest towards features that revolve around interior room and convenience features. Consequently, Canadians will likely seek a variety of features to meet their diverse requirements when choosing a family vehicle. Andrew Zmijak
Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Family cars should provide a lot
            • Figure 1: Family vehicle characteristics (% agree), September 2018
          • Viewpoints on family vehicle characteristics differ by gender
            • Figure 2: Family vehicle characteristics (% agree), by gender, September 2018
          • Minivans lack appeal
            • Figure 3: Select attitudes towards family vehicles (any agree), September 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Parents are more likely to be interested in SUVs and Minivans
              • Figure 4: Vehicle type consideration, parents vs non-parents, September 2018
            • Safety features are paramount
              • Figure 5: Desired features, September 2018
            • Tech features are vital to most
              • Figure 6: Tech-related attitudes towards family vehicles, any agree, September 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Raised interest rates may deter some from buying a new car
                • Estimated growth rate of younger groups will benefit the category
                  • Gas prices can affect decisions on vehicle type
                    • Improved perceptions of financial health may help new car sales
                    • Market Factors

                      • Raised interest rates may deter some from buying a new vehicle
                        • Growth rate of younger groups will benefit the category
                          • Fuel prices can affect decisions on vehicle type
                            • Figure 7: Average retail prices for regular gasoline in Canada, by week, 2015-18 (November)
                          • Boosted perceptions of financial health may help new car sales
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Highlighting vehicle awards and recognitions
                              • Auto makers promote key safety features
                                • Safety system continues to advance
                                  • Sedans are under threat
                                    • The rise of convenience services
                                    • Marketing and Advertising

                                      • Spotlighting vehicle awards and recognitions
                                        • Figure 8: Mazda CX-5 – The Trail Ahead, Mazda Canada, October 2018
                                        • Figure 9: 2018 Honda CR-V, print ad, August 2018
                                      • Brands promoting key safety features
                                        • Figure 10: 2019 Kia Sedona, online ad, October 2018
                                        • Figure 11: 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, online ad, October 2018
                                      • Volkswagen ups its efforts in the SUV class
                                        • Figure 12: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, online ad, September 2017
                                      • Chrysler employs celebs to highlight family vehicle offerings
                                        • Figure 13: Tasty cucumbers ft. Kathryn Hahn, 360° Camera, Chrysler Pacifica S, October 2018
                                        • Figure 14: Soccer practice ft. Kathryn Hahn, Chrysler Pacifica S, March 2018
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Safety system continues to progress
                                        • Auto sector relieved by new trade deal
                                        • What’s Struggling?

                                          • Sedans are under threat
                                            • Scrapped electric vehicle program could hurt sales
                                            • What’s Next?

                                              • The rise of convenience services
                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                • Sedans and SUVs top the list
                                                  • Consumers intend to use their vehicles for several factors
                                                    • Safety, comfort and reliability are vital to consumers
                                                      • Safety features are key
                                                        • Most believe family vehicles should suit long road trips
                                                        • Vehicle Type Consideration

                                                          • Sedans and SUVs top the list
                                                            • Figure 15: Vehicle type consideration, September 2018
                                                          • Women lean towards crossovers, men towards coupes and sports cars
                                                            • Figure 16: Vehicle type consideration (select), by gender, September 2018
                                                          • Younger cohorts more likely to consider ‘sporty’ vehicles
                                                            • Figure 17: Vehicle type consideration (select), 18-44s vs over-45s, September 2018
                                                          • Asian Canadians also more inclined to choose a sedan
                                                            • Figure 18: Vehicle type consideration (select), Asian Canadians vs overall, September 2018
                                                          • Parents more likely to consider SUVs and minivans
                                                            • Figure 19: Vehicle type consideration, parents vs non-parents, September 2018
                                                        • Vehicle Usage

                                                          • Consumers intend to use their vehicles for a combination of factors
                                                            • Figure 20: Main use of next vehicle, September 2018
                                                          • Use differs by age
                                                            • Figure 21: Main use of intended vehicle, 18-44 vs over-45s, September 2018
                                                          • Parents intend to use their vehicles for daily activities
                                                            • Figure 22: Main use of intended vehicle, parents vs non-parents, September 2018
                                                            • Figure 23: Intention of using next vehicle to drive family, by vehicle type, September 2018
                                                        • Family Vehicle Characteristics and Desired Features

                                                          • Safety, comfort and reliability are paramount to consumers
                                                            • Figure 24: Family vehicle characteristics (% agree), September 2018
                                                          • Women are more practical, while men like their toys
                                                            • Figure 25: Family vehicle characteristics (% agree), by gender, September 2018
                                                            • Figure 26: Desired features, by gender, September 2018
                                                          • Safety features are key among consumers
                                                              • Figure 27: Desired features, September 2018
                                                            • Younger drivers more likely to think a family car should be ‘high tech’
                                                              • Figure 28: Family vehicle characteristics, 18-44s vs over-45s, September 2018
                                                            • Interior space and accessibility are also key to younger groups and parents
                                                                • Figure 29: Desired features, 18-44s vs over-45s, September 2018
                                                                • Figure 30: 2018 Lincoln Navigator: Uncharted Waters, Lincoln, January 2018
                                                                • Figure 31: Desired features, parents vs overall, September 2018
                                                              • Higher income groups desire safety features and easy access
                                                                • Figure 32: Desired features (select), household income of $100,000 or more vs overall, September 2018
                                                            • Attitudes towards Family Vehicles

                                                              • Most believe family vehicles should suit long road trips
                                                                • Figure 33: Select attitudes towards family vehicles (any agree), September 2018
                                                              • Tech features are important to most
                                                                • Figure 34: Tech-related attitudes towards family vehicles (any agree), September 2018
                                                              • Style is important
                                                                • Figure 35: Select attitudes towards family vehicles (any agree), September 2018
                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                              • Data sources
                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                  • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                      • Abbreviations