SUMMERSIDE - Prince Edward Island led the way with the largest percentage of increase of vehicle sales of any province in the country in 2013.
© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer
P.E.I. had the highest percentage of increased car sales in Canada in a record-breaking year for the industry. P.E.I. recorded a 12.5 per cent increase in sales, according to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.
Michael Hatch, chief economist for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association said there were record sales across the country last year.
“P.E.I was the strongest province with 12.5 per cent growth over 2012,” he said. “P.E.I. is also the smallest sample but still very, very impressive growth.”
Hatch said nationwide, most of the growth came from truck sales as opposed to cars.
“Within the truck segment there are pick-up trucks, SUVs, big and small, all sorts of different vehicles,” he said. “That segment grew by about seven per cent versus the one per cent for cars. So, growth on both sides but the lion’s share came from trucks. That would also be true in the case of P.E.I.”
Hatch said affordability has been the number one driving factor behind the nationwide increase in vehicle sales.
“Average car prices are at record lows and that’s driving demand across the board,” he said.
Jeff Hemphill, president of the P.E.I. Automobile Dealers Association and owner of Hemphill Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Ltd., said his dealership experienced a strong growth in car sales.
“Definitely, car sales remain strong and have for a few years,” he said. “Ten to 12 per cent is what we’re looking at in sales, new car sales. “
He said the rates and the incentives have played a role in the increase in sales.
“It’s good for customers and people are buying more new cars than they ever did,” Hemphill said.
Unlike the nationwide trend in a big upswing in the sale of tracks, Hemphill said their increases have come in the automobile segment of the industry.
“My personal experiences, if you had asked me this a year ago I would have said for the last two or three years, trucks have been carrying us through,” he said. “For 2013, we saw the cars side of it come back. Compact cars are our bread and butter. The Chevrolet Cruze has been phenomenal for us. They’re affordable and are good on gas. I sold 12 more trucks this year than I did last year but my cars have been more than that for sure.”
Hemphill said his dealership has had strong truck sales for two or three years leading to 2013
“It’s nice to see it balance out,” he said.
Rodd MacDonald of D. Alex MacDonald Ford Lincoln said his sales have also been up for 2013.
“We’re certainly up in our sales here from last year,” he said. “We’re around eight or nine per cent from last year.”
MacDonald agreed with Hemphill that vehicles are more affordable to the consumer.
“There are certainly good programs,” he said. “They’re (manufacturers) are aggressive that’s for sure. “