New car sales start to recover from COVID-19 as dealerships reopen: Statistics Canada

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      It’s not only used cars that are in demand these days.

      With people choosing to drive due to health concerns related to traveling by public transit because of COVID-19, sales of new automobiles are also rising.

      Although sales are below last year’s numbers, transactions have picked from lows during the pandemic lockdown.

      Figures released by Statistics Canada show that new car sales declined 47.2 percent year over year in May 2020.

      However, sales are “recovering slightly from the 74.6% and 48.5% declines in April and March respectively”.

      “Dealership showrooms began re-opening in May amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though physical distancing measures were put into place, such as limiting the number of customers in the showrooms at a time,” according to the federal statistics agency.

      Moreover, “Physically distant options continue to be available to Canadians as an alternative to face-to-face interactions for new motor vehicle purchases.”

      Figures released Wednesday (July 15) indicate that sales of trucks declined 43.5 percent year over year in May.

      This is an improvement from the 71.8 percent and 45.5 percent declines in April and March 2020, respectively.

      Trucks cover light trucks, heavy trucks, and buses.

      “Sales of passenger cars (-56.5%) also saw a smaller decline than in April (-82.8%) and March (-57.8%),” according to Statistics Canada.

      In June this year, TD Economics released a report titled The Right Direction, Slowly: An Update on Canadian Spending Patterns.

      According to this report, resales of secondhand cars “may be benefitting from demand related to potential concerns about being in close proximity to others on public transit”.

      This “shift towards personal transportation has been observed in other countries in response to the pandemic”, according to the TD Economics report.

      Also last June, TransLink indicated that transit ridership may remain below pre-COVID-19 levels because of health concerns and cheap gas.

      “There is a risk that previous regular transit users will start making more of their trips instead by automobile for understandable reasons, and that these habits will stick post-pandemic,” Geoff Cross, vice president for transportation planning and policy with the regional transit authority, wrote in a report.