If a survey conducted for Canadian Black Book is an indication, there’s evidence Canada’s vehicle-sales boom is far from over.
The poll by Ipsos found 62 per cent of those contacted were either very or somewhat likely to purchase a car or truck within the next two years, an 11-percentage-point jump over last year’s poll.
“This data represents a substantial increase in potential car buyers versus what was considered an already high percentage last year,” the vehicle-valuation firm said in a news release.
Canadians bought almost 1.95 million cars and trucks last year, breaking a 2015 record. First-quarter 2017 sales are outpacing last year’s figures while sales in the United States are softening.
Vehicle-buying intentions were strongest in Ontario at 65 per cent and weakest in Quebec and the region of Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 59 per cent.
The numbers are encouraging for the auto industry and the Canadian economy, said Brian Murphy, CBB’s vice-president editorial and research.
But, he said “concerns do exist regarding an apparent consumer knowledge gap about buying and vehicle ownership in general.”
“The vast majority of Canadians do not realize what expense is costing them the most when it comes to owning a vehicle – depreciation.”
Murphy said only two per cent of respondents knew depreciation was the single largest ownership cost. Previous research has shown depreciation coupled with financing up to 96 months can leave owners thousands of dollars under water if they trade in before the loan is paid off.
Less than a third of respondents who had auto loans understood negative equity meant owing more on their outstanding balance than their vehicle was worth.
Some 43 per cent of respondents said they would consider an alternative-energy vehicle if gas prices rose 25 cents per litre between now and when they buy. More than a quarter would opt for a hybrid and 23 per cent would look at an electric vehicle.
While almost a third would consider downsizing to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, 30 per cent said a 25-cent rise at the pump would not affect their next purchase decision.
The online survey was conducted last Dec. 2-5 with Ipsos’ online panel involving 1,011 adult Canadians who own or lease a vehicle or intend to buy within the next two years. Results, weighted to reflect Canada’s demographic makeup, are considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.