By Blair Qualey
Over the past few years, the auto industry has been on a rollercoaster ride unlike anything we have experienced before – and the ups and downs have created havoc for new car dealers and consumers across Canada and other parts of the world.
It’s anyone’s guess how 2023 may shape up but DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, succinctly sums up best, recent challenges and the prospects for 2023:
- 2020 – Too Few Customers
- 2021 – Too Few Vehicles
- 2022 – Even Fewer Vehicles
- 2023 – More Vehicles, but a Looming Recession
Desrosiers reports that across Canada, approximately 1.49 million vehicles were sold in 2022, down 9.1 per cent from the year previous and the lowest total since 2009.
A closer look at light truck sales, reveals that Ford maintained its spot as the overall sales leader with 240,000 units sold last year and the RAM pickup series remained in a secure second position. Thanks to an almost 20 per cent sales increase, the Jeep Wrangler claimed eighth place among light trucks boosted by strong sales of its PHEV model. It should also be noted that in the fourth quarter General Motors assumed a leadership position with sales increasing almost 42 per cent over the same period in 2021.
On the passenger side of the sales ledger, Desrosiers reports that the Honda Civic, which has been Canada’s top selling passenger car for 24 years, was finally dethroned in 2022 by the Toyota Corolla. Also of note is the fact that the Chevrolet Malibu recorded a 226% gain over the year previous and assumed the number 10 position.
As we enter 2023, it’s difficult to say how the next 12 months will play out. The good news is that supply chain issues that have plagued the sector are expected to start easing this year, which means that there will be more new-vehicle inventory available to consumers. This will come as welcome relief to both dealers and consumers who have demonstrated a great deal of patience in the face of significant challenges in recent years.
Even amid concerns about the state of the economy, there is excitement building about the influx of new vehicles that we hope to see in showrooms in the months ahead. The combination of pent-up demand and the wide array of new car, trucks, and SUVs – particularly those in the zero-emission vehicle category, provide hope that we will soon turn the page on a difficult chapter.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at email@example.com