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New vehicle sales stabilize

New vehicle sales stabilize

Posted on: 1/17/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Be they sleek new electric vehicles, comfy cross-overs or dependable pickup trucks, Albertans enjoy their vehicles. Even so, sales of cars and trucks flatlined towards the end of 2018. Put more optimistically, sales stabilized.

The graph below illustrates total dollars spent on new vehicles in Alberta over the last six years. The monthly data represent the average over the previous twelve months, removing the distinct seasonal ups-and-downs of vehicle purchases.

The average total amount spent was stable throughout 2018, around $930 million per month. That’s nearly as high as the record level hit prior to the recession. However, two other factors should be considered—and they shine a less positive light on the situation.

The first is inflation. Over the six years in the reference period below, prices for new passenger vehicles in Alberta rose 13.5 per cent. That means total spending today buys fewer new cars and trucks than six years ago.

Population growth should also be considered. Between 2012 and 2018, Alberta’s population grew by 430,000 people, or 11 per cent. This means per capita spending has actually dropped, despite total spending being back in record territory.

New vehicle sales Alberta, graph

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