indicatorThe Owl

New vehicle sales getting back to normal in Alberta

Although not spectacular, sales since July have been close to where they were before the pandemic

By ATB Economics 22 April 2021 1 min read

As of February 2021 new vehicle sales in Alberta were roughly back to where they were 12 months earlier* just before the pandemic was declared.

At $781 million, sales in February of this year were 2 per cent higher than the previous February and 15 per cent better than in February 2019.

The number of vehicles sold was only 1 per cent (204) below the figure for February 2020.

Although not spectacular, sales since July have been close to where they were before the pandemic. Total sales from July 2020 to February 2021 were 1 per cent ($72 million) lower than sales from July 2019 to February 2020 while the number of vehicles sold was down by 3 per cent (4,512).

Large declines in March through June of last year, however, reduced total sales over these four months by $1.6 billion compared to the same four months in 2019. Although sales have  bounced back since the spring lockdown, this hole remains and it will take stronger sales going forward to refill it.

The “normal” level of sales in February suggests Albertans were relatively confident about the future direction of the economy at that time.

Given rising cases of COVID-19 and the reintroduction of some public health measures, we might see another drop in sales when we get the data for April. This should, however, be temporary with sales improving as the vaccination effort continues.

*Vehicle sales rise and fall on a seasonal basis so we compare the same month across different years rather than month-to-month changes. (Seasonally adjusted data on new vehicle sales are not available from Statistics Canada.)


Answer to the previous trivia question: There are eight candidates on the short-list for the portrait that will appear on the new five-dollar bill.

Today’s trivia question: What is the most expensive street legal car that will be manufactured in 2021?

At $781 million, sales in February of this year were 2 per cent higher than the previous February and 15 per cent better than in February 2019

At $781 million, sales in February of this year were 2 per cent higher than the previous February and 15 per cent better than in February 2019


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