In the first-half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.
Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.
Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be.
The venerated Honda Odyssey became Canada’s 24th-best-selling vehicle in July 2017, a result that had Honda Canada so excited that initial celebratory statements weren’t adding up. On the one hand, Honda Canada said the Odyssey “recorded its best ever sales.” Not just the best July, but the best month ever.
But then Jean Marc Laclerc, Honda Canada’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, said the Odyssey “recorded its best ever July sales figures since 2002.” Either it was the best ever or it was the best since 2002, but it can’t be both.
Because this is the revered Honda Odyssey, we took this muddled language extraordinarily seriously. And by “extraordinarily seriously” we mean, we email Honda Canada to clarify. The Honda Odyssey’s July performance in 2017 — 1,794 sales, a 41-percent year-over-year increase — marked the best July for Honda Canada’s van in history, and the best any-month performance since 2002.
The Odyssey, typically outsold by vehicles such as the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Forte, Nissan Murano, Honda Accord, Honda HR-V, Toyota Highlander, and Kia Sportage, outsold all of those vehicles in July. The Odyssey outsold the third-ranked minivan in Canada, Toyota’s Sienna, by a 47-percent margin.
Despite the blessed Odyssey’s growth — and largely because of plunging sales from the class-leading Dodge Grand Caravan — the Canadian minivan segment nevertheless fell 7 percent in July 2017. (Sales are down 4 percent, year-to-date, excluding mini-MPVs from Kia and Mazda.) The Honda Odyssey nevertheless grew its share of the minivan market from 15 percent in July 2016 to 23 percent in July 2017, all because Canadians saw the light.
The switch was flicked. The mind’s eye was opened. Savviness became the standard. Older siblings now bask in the ease with which the Odyssey’s Magic Slide second row seats allow for easy third row access. Mothers are seen overtaking pedestrian Mazda 5s like they’re, well, pedestrians. The infotainment frustrations of fathers has finally faded. The beautifully chubby cheeks of a sleeping, rear-facing infant are now analyzed in perpetuity by every fawning Odyssey-driving nanny.
Automotive enlightenment has reached Canada.
U.S. sales of the Honda Odyssey fell 10 percent, year-over-year in July 2017.
[Image: © Timothy Cain]