Topic: new vehicles
We continued to see mixed signals in May, with ongoing supply chain issues clouding production outlook and demand for vehicles remaining strong – however, not at any price.
April continued the trend of moving towards a ‘new normal’ – however, the path remains fragmented, and potential disruptions linger. Inventory levels improved for both new and used vehicles in April – but new figures remain down over 37% compared to last year, while used levels have rebounded substantially over the past several months and are now effectively flat with last year. One potential reason for the used turnaround is anecdotal commentary around fewer Canadian vehicles heading across the US border as wholesale prices have started to decline in the states.
In the Canadian auto market, there’s a clear bifurcation in the market where topline inventory and listing price continue to grow while days-on-market shrink. While consumers still want private mobility, they’ve become much more selective on what they’re willing to pay.
February, in some ways, unfolded as anticipated, with improvements in both new and used inventory. However, those gains in inventory didn’t transfer over to other key metrics, highlighting that the road to a new normal will remain a winding one.
The CarGurus New Vehicle Availability Index for Canada increased 2.9% compared to January – even with those gains, though, it remained down 47.4% compared to last year. Used inventory had an even larger month-over-month increase, rising 5%, while the year-over-year figure was still down 12%. And though monthly gains in inventory are a welcome shift in trends, we didn’t see any relief in vehicle pricing in February.
When it comes to January data trends, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though new and used vehicle inventory levels increased in January, it’s possible that the increase was not exclusively due to improving vehicle production. It’s likely that consumers are also starting to sit out from historically high prices. Even with the small increases in January, overall inventory is still significantly impacted compared to last year, with new inventory down nearly 50% and used down 18.4%.
December provided one final swerve as new sales declined month-over-month since November, while new inventory levels increased. The CarGurus New Vehicle Availability Index increased 10% from November levels, providing a unique situation where new sales declined – however, it wasn’t exclusively tied to declining inventory levels. The used vehicle index also increased, though at a slower rate of 2.6%. While inventory levels improved in December, they remain far off on a year-over-year basis, with new down nearly 47% and used down 20%.
November saw a continuation of trends from last month in Canada, with inventory continuing to decline, prices rising, and days on market shrinking. Inventory decline was at a more modest rate of 0.6% from October for new, however, inventory levels are down 50.9% year-over-year. Used also saw declines in inventory but at a slightly higher clip of 2.1%.