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Vehicle sales bouncing back

Vehicle sales bouncing back

Posted on: 10/23/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Last week The Owl reported on the latest retail sales in Alberta, suggesting that after a sharp pullback during the recession, shoppers in our province have started to loosen their purse strings once again. That’s supported by another recent piece of consumer data: vehicle sales.

According to Statistics Canada, 22,257 new cars and trucks rolled off the dealership lots in August of this year. That’s up from 18, 793 in August of last year.

Measuring vehicle sales per capita and comparing these to the rest of the country reveals an interesting trend. Back in the hey-days of 2013, dealerships were selling about 55 new vehicles each month for every 10,000. That was well above the national average of about 41 new vehicles for Canada overall.

But by 2014, the impact of the recession started to choke Albertans’ appetites for new cars and trucks—and by the lowest point in late 2016, sales in the province had dropped to about 43 per month, per 10,000 people. That was below the national average.

Similar to general retail sales, however, new vehicle purchases have been picking up. On average over the last 12 months, unit sales have hovered close to 48 per 10,000. This is very close to the national average. As the economy gradually improves throughout the year, it is likely that vehicle sales will continue to climb—although they may not reach their pre-recession high for quite some time.

Monthly vehicle sales, graph

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