Alberta’s car and truck sales had rebounded very sharply over the first nine months of the year, reaching a 22-month high in September. But weakness returned in the fourth quarter, pushing sales down.
Typically, weak sales of a major durable item like vehicles are due to sliding consumer confidence. However, with Alberta’s economy improving and oil prices higher, that seems improbable.
The most likely cause of the weaker sales is that consumer demand for replacement vehicles has been temporarily tapped out. With all of the new vehicles sold leading up to the fall of 2010, there are simply fewer Albertans remaining in the market for new vehicles.