Cars are a vital part of the Canadian culture, not to mention the economy. The recent recession had a devastating impact on automobile manufacturers and sales in North America. However, with the economy on the rebound, sunnier days are in sight for the Canadian auto industry.
British Columbia and Alberta, the country's westernmost provinces and both with resource – dependent economies, were hit extremely hard when commodity prices took a nosedive during the recession. However, with the demand for natural resources rapidly returning, the economy in the west is improving and car sales will follow suit. Industry experts predict that new car sales in British Columbia will rise by 5% in 2010 and by 10% in Alberta. This is a major recovery following a dismal 2009 ending in sales declines of 15% in B.C. and 21% in Alberta.
Growing consumer confidence in the nation's economy, coupled with global recovery, is expected to fuel positive sales figures across the nation. Projections for the current year anticipate auto sales to climb to 1.53 million units, 10% higher than sales figures for 2009.
Another province expected to contribute to the rise in sales figures is Saskatchewan. Although the province holds the record for the oldest vehicle fleet in the country – average age exceeding 11 years – auto sales are still 12% above the average. In general, growth in the province has exceeded the national average for the last three years.
On the other end of the scale, Quebec is expected to show only a moderate increase in auto sales of no more than 3%. The province currently has more new vehicles per capita than any other province.
Whether the contributing factor is a recovering economy, a relaxation of credit restrictions, or even purchases for the upcoming Winter Olympics, the fact is that Canadians love their new cars and, having weathered the global storm, it's time to go shopping.
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