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Countdown to BC Budget Day

Countdown to BC Budget Day

February 13, 2019

By Blair Qualey
Post Media Column- February 15, 2019

The Provincial budget 2019 will be delivered in a matter of days, and the New Car Dealers Association (NCDA) will be awaiting news on legislative, regulatory or tax measures that have the potential to have a direct impact on auto dealers, their 30,000 employees and customers.

When the government delivers its Budget on February 19, the NCDA will be looking to see if there is a long-term commitment to CEVforBC. In the past year, Victoria provided a $30 million infusion to the program, which will run out in a couple of months, in recognition of its success in making electric vehicles more affordable for individuals and families around BC. With a dedicated, long-term commitment from the government, we can ensure more sustainable and environmentally friendly vehicles are on our roads and in our driveways.

We were equally heartened when government made a commitment last year to support the ongoing development of infrastructure to support a comprehensive fast charging network. At the time, the Minister of Energy suggested government was working towards a seamless network to serve urban and rural areas. Again, we hope to hear more on this front, as the issue of range anxiety is a key consideration for consumers when they look to purchase or lease an electric vehicle.

New Car Dealers play an important role in transitioning consumers towards clean energy vehicles, and we believe that a carrots – not sticks, approach is the route to success. It is for that reason, the NCDA will be interested in further details of government’s plan to establish a Zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate.

Government has suggested it will be introducing legislation to phase in targets for the sale of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVS) and in doing so, will set targets of new vehicle sales being 10% ZEV sales by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040. In theory electric vehicles would a solution for every individual and family, but that simply isn’t the current reality in BC. At this time, not every individual or family can afford an electric vehicle; EVs are not a realistic option in some areas of the province because of weather and geography; in many regions of the province, there isn’t a comprehensive network of charging stations, and; a ZEV sales mandate fails to guarantee British Columbians will purchase EVs at the rate government would like. A focus solely on EVs fails to take into account the fact that newer model gasoline vehicles, in the near term, can also play an important role in emissions reductions as manufacturers unveil new internal combustion models that are more fuel efficient with each passing year.

We also hear from BC consumers who want to see some relief from the Luxury Tax as it applies to the purchase of pick-up trucks and popular cross over utility vehicles. Unfortunately, the threshold for this tax remains at $55,000 – and for many who work in BC’s resource industry, these vehicles are not luxury items – but rather, an essential part of how they support their families. An exemption on all trucks from the luxury tax is a great way to make life more affordable for hard working British Columbians across the province.

BC’s New Car Dealers generate $16 billion in annual retail sales, provide $675 million in revenue to all three levels of government – and support more than 30,000 family supporting jobs across the province. In the end, we trust government will recognize the significance the industry plays in BC communities and take the issues that impact our members and their hard-working customers across the province into account, when it unveils Budget 2019.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca

Dealer Members with New Car Dealers Association

We represent more than 375 New Car Dealers throughout British Columbia.