Canadian Car Brands – Think of iconic car brands, names like Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota often come to mind. However, Canada has also played a significant role in the automotive industry, with several Canadian car brands making their mark on history.
In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most famous and influential Canadian car brands that have made a lasting impact on the industry.
Canada may not be known for its large number of homegrown car brands, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
In fact, there are a handful of Canadian car companies that have made a name for themselves in the industry.
These companies have designed, engineered, and built their vehicles right here in Canada, contributing to the rich automotive history of the country.
So, let’s explore the world of Canadian car brands and discover the unique vehicles they have to offer.
Top 10 Canadian Car Brands List
Canada has a rich history when it comes to car manufacturing, with several old and famous Canadian car companies leaving their mark in the industry.
These companies have contributed to the growth and development of the automotive sector in Canada, making it a key player in the global market.
This list showcases the top 10 Canadian car brands that have played a significant role in shaping the automotive landscape in Canada.
Bricklin Motorcars Ltd.
Malcolm Bricklin, the man behind the Subaru 360 and the Yugo GL, also tried his hand at creating his own car. In 1974, he established Bricklin Motorcars Ltd. in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
The result was the Bricklin Safety Vehicle 1, or SV-1. Powered by either an AMC or Ford V-8 engine, the SV-1 featured a unique gullwing design that was both nifty and odd-looking.
However, the quality of the car left much to be desired. The plastic-and-fiberglass body panels would crack, warp, and delaminate, and the gullwing doors often failed under their own weight or trapped occupants when the electro-hydraulic system malfunctioned.
With only around 3,000 SV-1s produced, the Bricklin operation went bankrupt in 1976.
Despite its shortcomings, Bricklin Motorcars Ltd. remains a notable entry in the list of Canadian car companies, showcasing the country’s contribution to the automotive industry.
Conquest Vehicles is not your typical Canadian car brand. Known for their armored vehicles, they bring a surprising element of strength to Canada’s peaceful reputation.
One of their standout models is the Conquest Knight XV, a custom-built vehicle based on a Ford F550 chassis.
This 19.5-foot-long brute is not only fully armored on the outside but also exudes luxury on the inside. With leather and suede upholstery, Wilton wool carpets, and a flat-screen TV, it’s designed for the ultimate comfort and protection.
The Knight XV can even withstand gas attacks and electromagnetic pulses from nuclear bombs.
For those who desire the striking look of the Knight without the need for heavy armor, Conquest offers a non-armored version called the Evade.
Felino, the brainchild of Canadian race-car driver Antoine Bessette, has made its mark on the automotive world with its impressive cB7 supercar.
The first prototype of this whimsical vehicle hit the scene in 2012, and deliveries began in 2017. The cB7R, one of its variants, boasted either a 525-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine or a powerful 700-hp 7.0-liter engine.
With acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 345 km/h (214 mph), the cB7R was a force to be reckoned with. Limited to only 10 units, the 2,500-pound supercar captured the attention of enthusiasts worldwide.
And Felino isn’t stopping there – they are currently working on the cB7+, a lighter and even more powerful version of their renowned creation.
As one of the notable Canadian car companies, Felino has undoubtedly earned its spot on the list of top 10 car manufacturers in Canada.
HTT Automobile, a Quebec-based company, had ambitious plans to create what could have been Canada’s first supercar.
The Pléthore LC-750, named after its powerful 7.0-liter V-8 engine, promised impressive performance with a 0-60 acceleration in less than 3 seconds and a top speed exceeding 200 mph.
Founders Carl Descoteaux and Sébastien Forest presented their supercar on the Canadian TV show Dragon’s Den, securing a $1.5-million financing deal.
However, their dreams were shattered when the car’s transmission failed during an investor’s test drive, leading to the deal falling through.
Despite reportedly pre-selling six cars, HTT’s website went offline, and the fate of the company and the Pléthore remains uncertain.
HTT Automobile’s brief presence in the Canadian automotive industry showcases the innovative spirit of car companies in Canada, even if they don’t always achieve long-term success.
Intermeccanica and its parent company Electra Meccanica are two Canadian automotive companies that have made waves in the industry. Intermeccanica, founded by Frank Reisner, originally began in Italy before finding its home in Canada.
They have an impressive lineup of cars, including the Apollo GT, Italia, and replicas of the Porsche 356 and Volkswagen Kubelwagon. On the other hand, Electra Meccanica specializes in electric vehicles.
They produce the Solo, a single-seat, three-wheel electric car with a range of 100 miles, as well as the E-Roadster, an electric replica of the iconic Porsche 356.
Currently, they are also working on a sports car called the Tofino.
These Canadian automotive companies showcase the country’s innovation and contribution to the industry, particularly in the electric vehicle sector.
Magnum Cars is a hidden gem in the world of Canadian car brands. This low-volume manufacturer specializes in race cars and track cars that are designed to provide an exhilarating driving experience.
One of their standout models is the MK5, which was introduced in 2014. Although it is street-legal, the MK5 is truly a track car at heart.
Under the hood of this open-top two-seater is a Suzuki Hayabusa 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that has been given the Magnum treatment.
With some secret modifications, the engine produces an impressive 247 horsepower at 11,000 rpm.
This power enables the MK5 to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 149 mph.
It’s important to note that Magnum Cars is a boutique manufacturer, building only 20 vehicles per year. This exclusivity adds to the allure and desirability of their cars.
With Magnum Cars and other Canadian car brands like it, the country’s automotive industry continues to demonstrate its ingenuity and expertise. These lesser-known brands deserve recognition for their contribution to the world of automobiles.
So, keep an eye out for Magnum Cars and other Canadian car manufacturers that are making waves in the industry.
McLaughlin Motor Car Company
The McLaughlin Motor Car Company is a fascinating piece of Canadian automotive history. It started off as a builder of horse-drawn carriages in the late 19th century before transitioning into the world of automobiles in 1907.
Even though the carriage business remained strong, McLaughlin recognized the potential of automobiles and made a timely sale to a competitor in 1915.
What makes McLaughlin truly special is its connection to General Motors. Sam McLaughlin, the son of the company’s founder, was friends with William Durant, the founder of General Motors.
The two struck a deal that involved a stock swap and the use of Buick powertrains in McLaughlin automobiles.
In 1918, McLaughlin made a significant move by purchasing Chevrolet’s Canadian operation, which had been building cars with McLaughlin bodies.
This acquisition led to the creation of General Motors of Canada.
For several years, McLaughlin cars were produced under the label “McLaughlin-Buick Canada,” from 1923 until 1942. This collaboration between McLaughlin and Buick helped shape the Canadian automotive industry and further solidified McLaughlin’s place in the history books.
Today, when we think of Canadian car brands, General Motors is often one of the first names that come to mind. This can be attributed to the influential role played by McLaughlin Motor Car Company in Canada’s automotive landscape.
Its story exemplifies the success and growth of Canadian car manufacturing and the strong relationships forged within the industry.
This Canadian car brand is a bit of an anomaly. Technically, it wasn’t even a Canadian car at all! It was actually a Ford sub-brand exclusive to Canada.
Introduced in 1949, the Meteors were essentially rebadged Fords, designed to give Canadian Lincoln-Mercury dealers a more affordable option to sell.
Some of the Meteors even had Canadian-specific names, like the Meteor Niagara. In addition to the Meteor, Canadian Lincoln-Mercury stores also sold the Monarch brand, known for its upscale offerings.
And let’s not forget the Frontenac, a rebadged Falcon that was also sold in Canada.
Unfortunately, the Meteor brand disappeared in the mid-1970s, but not without leaving its mark. General Motors, always keeping things interesting, also offered Canadian-specific brands like Acadian and Beaumont, both of which were built in Canada.
So, while the Meteor may not have been a true Canadian car, it certainly adds an interesting layer to the rich tapestry of car brands in Canada. It’s just one example of the unique automotive landscape and the ingenuity of Canadian automotive companies and car manufacturers in Canada.
Prevost Car may not be in the business of building Canadian cars, but they are responsible for crafting some of the most luxurious buses on the road today. These buses often serve as the foundation for million-dollar motorhomes, including the iconic Ground Force One, the American presidential motorcoach.
Founded in Quebec and currently owned by Volvo, Prevost Car has made a significant impact in the automotive industry.
Their headquarters remain in Quebec, solidifying their Canadian roots.
In fact, many of the buses you see on the road in the U.S. are manufactured by Canadian companies such as Prevost, MCI, and New Flyer Industries.
Prevost Car’s commitment to quality and innovation has made it a top choice for luxury bus travel. Their buses are known for their exquisite design, superior comfort, and cutting-edge features.
Prevost Car may not build Canadian cars, but their buses represent the excellence and craftsmanship that Canadian automotive companies bring to the table.
Russell Motor Car Company
Russell Motor Car Company, known as “The Thoroughly Canadian Car,” has a captivating story in the Canadian automotive industry. Its journey began when Canada Cycle and Motor Co., a bicycle manufacturer, acquired struggling Canadian Motors Ltd in 1903.
Russell wasted no time in entering the car market, launching electric cars in 1903 and gasoline cars in 1905. By the early 1910s, it had established sales offices in Australia, New Zealand, and England.
However, Russell encountered challenges when it switched to the Knight sleeve-valve engine, which proved to be troublesome.
Coupled with the market downturn for high-end cars caused by World War I, Russell made the decision to sell its automobile business to American automaker Willys-Overland in 1916.
Despite this, Willys continued to manufacture cars in Russell’s factory until the 1930s. Russell’s story serves as a reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by Canadian car companies during the early 20th century. It is a testament to the rich history and ingenuity of the Canadian automotive industry.
Which car is made in Canada?
You might be surprised to learn that some iconic American muscle cars are actually made in Canada. The Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger, known for their power and performance, are all built at the Stellantis Brampton Assembly Plant.
This facility has an interesting history, as it was initially constructed by American Motors Corporation (AMC) and later acquired by Chrysler when it bought out the company in 1987.
So, when you see these impressive vehicles on the road, remember that they have a Canadian connection and are proudly made in Canada.
What is the top-selling car brand in Canada?
When it comes to the top-selling car brand in Canada, Ford takes the crown. In 2022, Ford Motor Company’s namesake brand sold a whopping 232,709 units, although this number represents a slight decrease of 1 percent compared to the previous year.
Despite facing challenges in the fourth quarter that hindered potential growth, Ford managed to gain significant market share.
In fact, they outsold their closest competitor by an impressive margin of over 57,000 units. This achievement is a testament to the enduring popularity and reputation of Ford vehicles among Canadian consumers.
Ford’s strong performance solidifies its position as a leading player in the Canadian automotive market.
These Canadian car companies may be lesser-known, but they demonstrate the innovative spirit and unique contributions that Canada brings to the automotive industry.
The Canadian automotive industry is a treasure trove of innovative and influential brands that have shaped the global automotive landscape. From the rich historical roots of these companies to their enduring impact on the industry, Canadian car brands deserve recognition for their contributions.
So, the next time you think about car brands, remember that Canada has its fair share of hidden gems.
These brands may not be as well-known as Ford or Toyota, but they are definitely worth knowing about. With their unique designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and rich history, Canadian car brands offer a truly distinctive and exciting driving experience.