Chip scarcity, provide chain points give used automobile costs uncommon enhance

Joe Tarin of Corsa Auto Restore and Gross sales surveys his downtown Toronto lot with a stoic smile. 


To pedestrians shuffling by, the used automobile dealership probably seems lots full, with coupes and sedans parked bumper to bumper. However actually, Tarin says his stock is down as a lot as 35 per cent in comparison with pre-pandemic ranges.

“After the pandemic, it’s extraordinarily onerous [to find used vehicles] and the costs have gone up extraordinarily,” he famous. “So once we’re retailing it, the value is clearly going to be a bit greater.”

With inflation in Canada rising on the quickest tempo in 18 years in October, just about every thing customers purchase has turn out to be costlier. However amid a crippling microchip scarcity and corresponding discount in new automobile manufacturing, value hikes within the used car market have been very extreme. 


In line with, the nation’s largest on-line market for pre-owned vehicles, the typical record value of a used car surged 27 per cent year-over-year in November to $31,875. Beforehand, the imply value of a used automobile had by no means surpassed $30,000. Stock, meantime, dropped 17 per cent. 

“One of many issues that’s all the time been true about vehicles is that you simply purchase a automobile and it’s price much less as quickly because it leaves the lot,” mentioned Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Components Producers Affiliation. “This previous yr, the typical worth of used vehicles has gone up. It’s by no means occurred earlier than. It defies all financial modelling.”

Volpe mentioned new automobile manufacturing was the “first domino” to fall throughout the pandemic. With out the semiconductors vital to finish their autos, automakers have been pressured to slash output and park their unfinished stock in sprawling heaps. The difficulty then unfold to auto components suppliers, rental service firms and used automobile sellers, which depend on a gentle movement of latest vehicles and vehicles. 

“Dealership teams normally have about 60, 70 days of stock available,” Volpe famous. “They’re all the way down to every week or two weeks in some instances. It’s actually unprecedented.”

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Used vehicles on the market are seen at an unspecified dealership – Bloomberg Information



Consultants additionally observe the impression of the availability chain crunch on used automobile sellers has been uneven. Whereas extra conventional retailers noticed their stock dwindle because the microchip scarcity took maintain, on-line used-vehicle sellers have managed to buck the development. 

Clutch Canada Inc., for instance, noticed its stock balloon over the course of the pandemic. 

The web purchaser and vendor of used vehicles had simply 89 autos in its stock on the finish of the primary quarter of 2020. At present, they boast 1,250 used vehicles and vehicles.

“We’re a expertise firm at coronary heart,” mentioned Dan Park, chief govt officer of Clutch. “So our secret sauce is the software program engineers, the info scientists and the analysts that we’ve that purchase stock each day.”

Park mentioned that not like conventional used automobile sellers, which rely closely on trade-ins to replenish their inventory, his staff faucets auctions, wholesales and personal gross sales.

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Stephen Seibel (proper) and Dan Park, Clutch CEO, pose for a portrait in an undated photograph

Nonetheless, Park famous it has turn out to be tougher to supply used autos, significantly given rental companies’ depleted fleets. And in consequence, costs for Clutch and its patrons have climbed.

On common, he mentioned costs for autos promoting on the net platform are up 16 per cent in comparison with the beginning of the pandemic. 



Consultants say it’ll probably take not less than two extra quarters earlier than automobile manufacturing returns to pre-pandemic ranges and the auto ecosystem normalizes. However even then, there could also be ongoing value ache for customers. 

 In line with Ian MacDonald, the chief advertising officer at, carmakers could also be studying the worth of manufacturing self-discipline, and re-evaluate their stock fashions.

“Perhaps [automakers] may have much less of an urge for food to construct up that stock,” he mentioned. “As a result of when demand is fixed and even excessive… and the availability is constrained, many [carmakers] have realized that they don’t must be fairly as beneficiant with incentives and issues like that. There’s the next margin for them.”

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