© Guardian photo
Darren Noonan stands outside Charlottetown Hyundai’s location at the corner of Mount Edward Road and Allen Street.
Prince Edward Island led the way with the largest growth in vehicle sales of any province in 2013.
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 that nationwide, most of the growth came from truck sales.
“Within the truck segment there are pickup 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 No. 1 driving factor behind the nationwide increase in vehicle sales.
“Average car prices are at record lows and that’s driving demand across the board.”
Jeff Hemphill, president of the P.E.I. Automobile Dealers Association and owner of Hemphill Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Ltd. in Summerside, 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.“
Hemphill 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.”
Unlike the nationwide upswing in the sale of tracks, Hemphill said their increases have come in the automobile segment.
“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.”
Rod MacDonald, of D. Alex MacDonald Ford Lincoln, said his sales have also been up for 2013.
“We’re around eight or nine per cent from last year,” said MacDonald.
He agreed with Hemphill that vehicles are more affordable.
“There are certainly good programs,” he said. “(Manufacturers) are aggressive that’s for sure.”