indicatorThe Owl

Third wave dampened vehicle sales in May

The introduction of tighter public health restrictions in Alberta in May was accompanied by a drop in the value of new vehicle sales of 21% compared to May 2019 before the pandemic was in play

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 16 July 2021 1 min read

New vehicle sales are a good indication of consumer confidence and overall business activity so the drop in sales during the pandemic has not been a surprise.

The value of new vehicle sales in Alberta over the first half of 2020 was 27% ($1.5 billion) lower than over the same period in 2019. Things improved over the second half of the year with sales down by only 1% ($46 million) compared to the last six months of 2019.

Compared to the same months in 2019 before the disruptive effects of the pandemic were in play, the value of sales in 2021 increased in January, February and March such that total sales over the first three months of the year were 6% higher than over the same period in 2019.

With cases on the rise, sales in April dipped below the level in April 2019 by 0.4%. The introduction of tighter public health restrictions and mounting supply chain disruptions were accompanied by a drop in sales of 21% in May. Not including the nadir reached in 2020, this was the lowest level for sales in May since 2011.

Sales should improve now that cases are down and public health restrictions in the province have been loosened. With that said, sales could be limited by the ongoing kinks in the supply chain.

Nationally, the value of new vehicle sales in May was 23% ($2.1 billion) below the pre-pandemic level in May 2019.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Now that the United Kingdom has left, there are 27 member countries remaining in the European Union.

Today’s trivia question: There were 16,359 new vehicles sold in Alberta in May. How many were sold in the country as a whole?

New vehicles sales in Alberta were down in May 2021 compared May 2019 and May 2018

New vehicles sales in Alberta were down in May 2021 compared May 2019 and May 2018


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