Come hell, high water or an oil collapse that has ravaged Alberta, something seemingly strange is happening: new dealerships are popping up like dandelions in Calgary.
Oil is hovering around US $50 a barrel and Alberta is in a serious economic downturn as companies lay off workers. Nearly 63,000 jobs were lost in the province in 2015, according to Statistics Canada.
But economic woes -- tens of billions of dollars in energy investment alone have been cancelled or deferred -- haven’t dampened the optimism of auto dealers. They remain bullish on the province’s ability to rebound, particularly in Calgary, which was hard hit by the oil-price collapse, and where 60,000 in the Calgary census metropolitan area were looking for work in December, according to figures from crown corporation Alberta Treasury Branches Financial (ATB Financial).
Five new dealerships have opened in the past year -- Kia, Chrysler/Fiat, BMW, Infiniti and Honda -- while construction is under way on four more: Hyundai; Ferrari/Maserati; Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.
Major renovations have been completed or are in the process at stores dealing in Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Ford, Acura and Hyundai.
New dealerships for Volkswagen, Cadillac and Nissan are in the planning stages and there are unconfirmed rumours of a new Land Rover outlet in the works.