Despite being neighbors, there’s actually quite a big difference in the attitude towards car ownership between Canada and the US.
The general idea of simply owning a car is far more popular in the US than it is in Canada. A far greater number of Canadians look at owning a car as a necessity, whereas more Americans consider it a status symbol.
It’s quite easy to say—as a generalization, of course—that in the US, bigger, louder, and more luxurious is the trend for vehicles. On the other hand, Canadians want something more practical and convenient, and they aren’t prepared to spend as much on cars as their US counterparts. In the US, people are also generally more interested in spending time on their own car maintenance.
Let’s take a look at the 6 main differences according to various studies:
- Car Prices Are Generally Higher In Canada
Despite Canadians not wanting to spend as much on vehicles, or perhaps because of it, the general price of cars is higher in Canada than in the US. There is an average of 20% difference in the price of vehicles, and even with the exchange rate favoring the US dollar, it can be cheaper for a Canadian to buy a car in the US and import it themselves.
The reasons behind this vary. However, the main reason is that more vehicles are manufactured in the US and then imported to Canada by the manufacturers. This automatically increases the price.
- More People Own Vehicles In The US Than Canada
Another significant difference in the car market between the two countries is that more people actually own cars in the US than in Canada. This probably comes down to the price of vehicles, as well as the general attitude towards them. If you see owning a car as a status symbol, you’re obviously going to be more inclined toward buying one.
Studies show that ownership of vehicles in Canada sits at around 77.8% of the population that is of driving age. In the US, that number has ranged between 96.3% and over 100%.
- The Pre-Owned Market In Canada Is Much Smaller Than The US
On average, more people will happily buy a second-hand car in the US than in Canada. The second-hand car market sits at about a tenth of the size in Canada compared to the US. In fact, a car in Canada will usually only have three owners throughout its lifespan, while a car can easily have four (or more) owners in the US.
Part of this is probably due to the fact that cars tend to have a longer lifespan in the US than in Canada. The average lifespan in Canada for a car is 12.88 years, while it’s up to 15.36 years in the US.
A major reason for this difference can be put down to the weather in Canada. It’s far more extreme across the entire country, while in the US, there are plenty of areas that don’t have extreme weather. This can play a big part in how long a car can last and how much maintenance it needs throughout its lifespan.
- Luxury Vehicles Are More Important In The US
The type of vehicle preferred in the two countries is also quite different. In the US, around 4.4% of cars sold are in the luxury class, while that number sits at 1.7% in Canada. This comes down to the idea of a car being a status symbol once again.
In Canada, compact cars are highly sought after, with around half of all vehicles sold falling into that category. In the US, it’s less than a third of the market.
The tables are turned when looking at the mid-sized car market. In the US, just under 40% of all cars sold fall into this size range, while only 20% of Canadians buy in this segment.
- Canadians Love Their Trucks And Pickups
A notable exception when it comes to vehicle size is in the truck and pickup market. Canadians clearly prefer these bigger, more rugged vehicles when looking at the numbers.
The Canadian market sits at over 30% for pickups and for SUVs (including compact SUVs). In the US, you’re looking at 22.3% and 25.7% respectively.
This difference probably comes from the climate again in Canada, as well as the general attitude toward vehicles. In Canada, the general attitude is that cars are necessities and are purchased to do a job. Although, it does seem at odds with the fact that Canadians tend to place a higher emphasis on fuel consumption in gas and diesel cars than people do in the US.
- Canadians Pay Less Insurance Than The US
Overall, car insurance prices in Canada are lower than in the US, however, depending on which province you’re in, the requirements may vary.
While in the US and Canada car insurance is mandatory (except in the US state of New Hampshire), some Canadian provinces require more liability cover than others. This means that Ottawa auto insurance quotes for a car in Ontario may well differ from quotes for a car in Edmonton, Alberta.
Canadian insurance plans are also valid in the US, but not all US policies are valid in Canada.
Key Car Ownership Differences In Summary
It’s clear that the market is quite different in Canada when compared to the US. Key areas to consider are:
- You’re going to have more choice in the compact market and in the pickup market in Canada
- The second-hand market is more limited and you need to consider pre-owned vehicles carefully as they may not have too many more miles left in them
- Buying a car directly in the US might be cheaper, even once you’ve factored in the fees of getting the vehicle to Canada
Knowing the differences between car ownership and all that comes with it in Canada and in the US can save you money and time if you’re interested in purchasing a vehicle. Although the differences may seem minor, they add up fast, and making smart purchasing decisions is crucial.
Meta Title: Owning A Car In The US Versus Owning A Car In Canada |3Dom
Meta Description: Despite being neighbors, there are several key differences between owning a car in Canada and in the US. Explore 6 of the biggest that may impact purchasing.