Skip to main content

The past two years have been a challenge for new car dealers as the pandemic and ongoing semiconductor shortage created serious supply issues that continue to hamper the ability of new car dealers to meet consumer demand.

In spite of the problems, year-over-year results in BC are encouraging regarding the sale of all light duty vehicles and zero emission vehicles (ZEV).

Light vehicle sales increased by 6.6% in 2021 according to Desrosiers Automotive Reports, based on total sales of almost 186,000 (while also recognizing the growth rate is in comparison to 2020 results, when new car sales dropped some 20 per cent).

Of course, an increasing component of new car sales in BC involves zero emission vehicles. The New Car Dealers Association of BC (NCDA) is proud to administer the Clean BC Go Electric Vehicle Rebate Program – and the number of submissions in 2021 totalled 16,254. This compares to results of 11,204 in 2020 and 15,231 in 2019.

When the BC government released Budget 2022 last month, the financial plan included an ongoing commitment to the Clean BC Go Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, and other policy and financial commitments that will continue to elevate BC as a leader in EV adoption in North America. Most notable is an increase in the passenger vehicle surtax threshold from $55,000 to $75,000 that will provide consumers a broader selection of clean energy vehicles to choose from. Another key initiative is an exemption from paying the Provincial Sales Tax on used zero emission vehicles.

Incentives are an important aspect of converting consumers into owners of zero emission vehicles but there is no doubting the fact that current supply issues are making it difficult for buyers to take advantage.

As much as we know the present shortage of semiconductors will go away eventually, industry analysts suggest it may be well into later 2022 and possibly beyond until consumers will be able to purchase new vehicles without waiting several months for delivery – both in the light vehicle and ZEV categories. In the current environment, consumers may also have to settle for something other than their preferred choice of vehicle features.

So, what advice do we have? Do your research. While some of the more popular models are hard to find, there are models available. Travelling a little further may also be required. A great source of information is your local new car dealer who is best positioned, given their network across the country, to help source a new or previously owned vehicle.

Buying a new car is an exciting time and consumers obviously want the transaction to occur as quickly as possible. We recognize current challenges are dampening that enthusiasm, but patience is needed as the industry gradually returns to some level of normal.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]