Is Canada A Car-Obsessed Nation?

Canada's auto manufacturing industry may be facing tough economic times, but the nation's drivers are still as eager as ever to get out on the roads with their vehicles - especially when it comes to embracing new technologies.

Claims that Canada is a country obsessed with cars are not borne out by the declining growth of the manufacturing industry, which is increasingly moving southwards across the US border as the nation becomes more dependent on foreign imports. Formerly reaching the heights of the world's fourth largest auto manufacturer in 1999, Canada may have slipped down the charts, but that doesn't mean its drivers are any less keen to upgrade to the latest models.

Canada is ahead of the game when it comes to adoption of hybrid cars, for example. These vehicles not only lessen the driver's impact on the environment, by supplementing the traditional engine with battery-powered electronics, but hybrids are also an increasingly desirable option in the face of rising gas prices.

Jumping on board the hybrid car bandwagon can lead to more than just fuel savings as well. Because hybrid drivers are generally viewed as more responsible, and thus a lower risk group, many insurers offer discounts of up to 10% when insuring hybrid vehicles.

There are also government incentives to consider, with hybrid drivers in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island being eligible for a tax rebate or credit of between $1,000 and $3,000 for playing their part in helping to conserve the environment. The perception that hybrid cars are more expensive to maintain is also somewhat inaccurate, with many manufacturers offering extended warranties to cover more areas of the vehicle if they become damaged and need repair or replacement.

According to insurance website Kanetix.ca, the five most popular hybrid models in Canada at the start of this year were the Toyota Prius and Camry Hybrid, the Honda Civic Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid and Lexus RX400h - demonstrating the range available for drivers when making the switch over to hybrid cars.

As hybrid models become even more widespread across Canada, drivers will be able to benefit from standardised rates for insurance and mobile glass repair services, which could work out cheaper than traditional car models. Canada is still a world leader when it comes to setting standards for vehicles, and more countries may soon follow its lead in developing greener transport.

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