New vehicle sales continue to fall

By ATB Economics 16 October 2019 1 min read

Depressed new car sales are another sign that the Alberta economy is stuck in low gear. The seasonally-adjusted* number of new vehicles purchased in Alberta was down by 5.8 per cent in August compared to the same month last year. This was the 13th consecutive drop in year-over-year sales with 1,168 fewer cars and trucks rolling off auto lots in Alberta compared to the previous August.

The seasonally-adjusted dollar value of vehicles sold in August was down by about $27 million (-2.9 per cent) compared to the same month last year.

Car sales, which represent about 15 per cent of vehicle sales in the province, were down by 607 units (-17.9 per cent) compared to a year ago. Truck sales, which includes light and heavy trucks, minivans, sport utility vehicles, vans, coaches and buses, were down by 561 units (-3.3 per cent).

New vehicle sales have been following a similar pattern at the national level. Seasonally-adjusted new vehicle sales were down nationally in August by 4.4 per cent—the 12th consecutive decline. This suggests that the economic growth at the national level may be somewhat weaker than the headline numbers indicate.

*Statistics Canada no longer produces seasonally-adjusted new vehicle sales so we have used a 12-month rolling average to smooth out the seasonal fluctuations in the data.

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