Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues

Car Sales

Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Atlantic Car Sales
Updated to June 2020 sales

  • On a year-over-year basis, the volume of new car sales in Atlantic Canada shrank by 67% in April, less than the 75% decline experienced nationally.
  • Sales started to recover in May as health restrictions began to ease and economies reopened. Atlantic sales in May were down 45% over the previous year, and were 19% lower in June than 2019. However, some dealerships are reporting challenges securing inventory. New Brunswick reopened May 8, PEI May 22, and Newfoundland and Labrador June 8. Nova Scotia never officially closed but businesses did close.
  • In terms of the total value of sales of new and used cars, parts and service, Atlantic sales were down 57% in April a year earlier. This was similar to the 62% decline nationally in April over the previous year. Activity is improving with sales in June up 5% from 2019 in Atlantic Canada.


Quick Facts

  • The total value of new car sales in Atlantic Canada in 2019 exceeded $5 billion, with almost 131,000 units sold. The total value of retail sales at new and used car dealers in Atlantic Canada in 2019 was $11 billion.
  • In 2019, 12,000 Atlantic Canadians were employed at automobile dealers. The sector accounts for just over 1% of total employment in the region.
  • Average weekly earnings for Atlantic employees at automobile dealerships were $1,024 in 2019, 9% above the all-industry average.
  • There are 350 new car dealer locations in Atlantic Canada. Of these, 31% have less than 20 employees, and 81% have less than 50 employees.
  • In Nova Scotia, automobile dealers had an GDP impact of $610 million in 2018, including indirect and induced effects.


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