Canadian gas prices aren’t changing car-buying habits, yet

But longer waits for new EVs — already long before the COVID-19 pandemic — and rising used-EV prices make purchasing one more difficult, he said.

It’s harder to what purchasing decisions people make after searches are made, Hall said. Vehicles listed on Canada Drives are being sold more quickly, however.

“Where we’ve seen our biggest increases in velocity has been on some of our good-fuel-economy units,” Hall said, and demand for used light trucks is softening.

Scotiabank’s Global Auto Report for May said North American light-vehicle production is rising as it recovers from the global microchip shortage, but inventories are unlikely to meet pent-up demand for the rest of this year. Scotiabank forecasts about 1.75 million new-vehicle sales for 2022, increasing to 1.92 million for 2023. In 2021, dealers sold 1.66 million vehicles, a seven-per-cent increase over the previous year.

According to Scotiabank economist Laura Gu, interest rates have risen but appear priced into the market already and likely won’t affect buying decisions.

Household balance sheets are also in good shape, she said, thanks to a buildup of savings during the pandemic. And consumer sentiment, bolstered by a strong job market, is fairly confident.

“So that could provide a little buffer in terms of demand,” Gu said.

Automakers dealing with a limited supply of microchips prioritized production of models with higher profit margins, such as pickups and utility vehicles, Gu said. Yet wholesale prices for the same types in the used market have softened, said James Hancock, director of OEM strategy and analytics at Canadian Black Book. That indicates changes in used-car buyer preferences, he added.

“In the past few weeks,” he said, “we’ve seen the less-fuel-efficient vehicles, the heavier SUVs and pickup trucks, the prices have come down a little bit more than some of the more fuel-efficient cars.”

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