indicatorThe Owl

New car smell weaker in 2020

In dollar terms, annual new vehicle sales were down by 15.5 per cent ($1.7 billion) last year

By ATB Economics 17 February 2021 1 min read

New vehicle sales in Alberta normalized during the second half of 2020, but ended the year down 18.8 per cent compared to 2019.

A total of 180,441 new cars and trucks rolled off Alberta lots in 2020 compared to 222,217 the year before. Sales peaked in 2014 at 277,191 vehicles.

The worst month in 2020 was April when year-over-year sales fell by 61.4 per cent. By December, year-over-year sales were still down, but by only 0.9 per cent.

In dollar terms, annual sales were down by 15.5 per cent ($1.7 billion) last year. (If we adjust for inflation, the drop was 16.2 per cent.)

The drop came after a lacklustre 2019 when sales fell by 4.3 per cent ($0.5 billion) compared to 2018. The weak sales in 2019 reflect the general sluggishness in the provincial economy that year.

Nationally, the number of new vehicles sold in 2020 contracted by 20.8 per cent (408,411 units) while the dollar value of sales fell by 18.0 per cent ($15.3 billion).

Sales value was down in all ten provinces with Ontario experiencing the largest contraction at -21.1 per cent (-$7.7 billion).

Answer to the previous trivia question: Ontario had the largest food manufacturing sector in Canada in 2020 at 39 per cent of the national total. Quebec was second at 23 per cent and Alberta third at 14 per cent. (Food manufacturing does not include primary crop and animal production.)

Today’s trivia question: What percentage of the new vehicles sold in Alberta last year were manufactured in North America* (Canada, U.S. and Mexico)?

*New motor vehicles fall into two categories defined on the basis of origin: those manufactured in North America and those manufactured overseas. The latter are imported in a fully assembled state from countries other than the United States or Mexico.

Adjusting for inflation, the value of annual new vehicle sales in Alberta was down by 16.2 per cent in 2020

Adjusting for inflation, the value of annual new vehicle sales in Alberta was down by 16.2 per cent in 2020


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