Why Canada’s used-car world is becoming a buyer’s market

TORONTO — The balance of power in the used car market is shifting towards shoppers as improved data and online offerings create more opportunities to push for the best price.

A fast-evolving online marketplace is providing more intelligence on the fair value of cars, said Cliff Banks, a Detroit-based auto retail expert.

“I don’t know that it can be any more transparent…they all provide intelligence on the pricing and the deal of the vehicle, whether it’s a good deal, a fair deal.”

Kijiji Canada recently announced it will add a standalone auto sales site that will roll out later this year to keep up with shifting expectations. The site will add reviews of dealers as well as market pricing information from Carproof.

“The key feature for us, and one of the biggest, the biggest win for us is what’s called price transparency or price analysis,” said Matt McKenzie, general manager at Kijiji Canada.

The online classified company, owned by eBay, already boasts of being the largest player in the Canadian market with about 500,000 vehicle listings. Autotrader, owned by Etobicoke-based Trader Corp., lists about 444,000 vehicles on its site while there are many other offerings on the market as well.

Listing companies are boosting their online presence as the used vehicle market is set for significant growth, said Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

“There’s tremendous opportunity, and that brings in all the different retail players and their approach of, how do I get a piece of that?”

While new vehicle sales are expected to be largely flat at about two million this year, the used vehicle market is set to add half a million more in sales in the next three to five years, on top of the three million that changed hands last year, said DesRosiers.

The rise in the used vehicle market comes as improved quality in the past decade means cars and trucks are lasting much longer, allowing for a potential lifespan of four to six owners from the two or three expected not long ago.

“It takes 23 years to remove the vehicles from the road now, a decade ago it only took about 12, so it’s essentially doubled,” said DesRosiers.

Used vehicles also offer margins that are two to three times higher than for new cars, adding to their appeal, he said.

The quality and information improvements have significantly changed the overall used retail market, said DesRosiers.

“It’s not that far long ago, call it 15 years ago or maybe 10 years ago, where the used car market was largely a culture of deceit…even if the online capacity was there, there was just so much riffraff in the used car market that it was very dangerous. A lot of that has changed.”

The improved access to data means used-car retailers have to be more transparent and competitive about their pricing, said Jamie Tekela, director of pre-owned operations at Pfaff Automotive Partners.

“You need to really justify what you’re asking, why you’re asking it, and you can’t go asking $500 more for the same Honda Civic with the same mileage. It just it doesn’t work any more.”

“It’s night and day, to be perfectly honest. It’s gotten a lot more customer friendly,” he said.

The improved information on crash reports, comparable sales, and other metrics hasn’t done away with potential negotiations but does give more justification, said Jamie.

“There’s always going to be negotiations when trying to buy and sell vehicles, but with so much information available to each and every one of us, it’s a lot easier to explain our rhyme and reason why we’re asking what for a car.”

Best Time to Buy a Car in Canada

Changing your car is something you will inevitably do multiple times during your life. The fact that you live in Canada, the second biggest country in the world and that Canadian cities tend to spread more horizontally than growing vertically, makes the point of having a car literally a “must.” So, you will ask yourself a lot of times: When is the best time to buy a car?

Changing your car is something you will inevitably do multiple times during your life. The fact that you live in Canada, the second biggest country in the world and that Canadian cities tend to spread more horizontally than growing vertically, makes the point of having a car literally a “must.” So, you will ask yourself a lot of times: When is the best time to buy a car?

And here is my fast response: it depends on your needs and your rush. That is why in the following article I’ve split the analysis in three: If you want to know the ideal month for new cars, the perfect moment for used cars and the third and last one: if you are in a rush.

Best Time to Buy a Car: September to December for New Cars

If your primary concern is price and you are looking for a new car, the best time span of the year is between September and December. And more precisely, the best moment is November.

The fact that new models are being delivered and parking lots need space, makes manufacturers offer incentives for previous year’s models with the intention of attracting customers to drive these away. Sometimes, you can find a few thousand on MSRP savings with incentives that are really worth.

Additionally, during February and March, usually a low sales season, new car prices also go down a little bit but never compared with the levels reached during the last quarter of the year.

Nissan Canada sometimes offers the Rogue during October-November with 4,000CAD savings incentives.

Anytime for Used Cars

A new car is the same anywhere: you go to dealer X, Y, and Z and they all have the 0 Km same vehicle. Wherever dealer you go, you will get the same exact “clone.” But used cars are different. Buying a used car is more a matter of opportunity than timing. Any time in the year you can find different used car offers as these aren’t globally managed by a massive market flow.

Looking for a Used Car: Don’t Rush If Possible

While I’ve talked about it on other articles, you need to remember that even with the same exact kilometers, same precise date of maintenance and being in similar weather conditions, vehicles depreciate in different.  Cars are used differently: bumps, driving habits, breaking hard, breaking slow, high speeds, low speeds… there are multiple factors that affect the actual condition of a vehicle. And all this can result in the fact that both “brother” cars have different costs.

If you are looking for a used car, don’t rush. The ideal time span you should use for exploring alternatives is 3 – 4 weeks of 10 hours a week of search. The fact that you have found a desirable offer doesn’t directly means that you should go with it. We have all been there and that “opportunity feeling” influences a lot on making a decision.

Propose Yourself at Least 10 Options on a Spreadsheet

One thing that helps a lot not to rush and be happy with whatever decision you make at the end is to put as many options as possible on the table. Yes, an actual “data table” or spreadsheet. If you propose yourself to get up to, let’s say, ten choices, then you can be sure that you will make an excellent final decision.

Take your time, don’t rush, and do a table with all available options before saying “Deal!”.

Urgency? Yes, sometimes it is urgent…

If your current car is broken, you have the “urgent need” of having a car, or you just some eventuality is rushing you, then I suggest you analyze the following before jumping into any decision. 

  • If your urgency is because of work, consider evaluating the monthly costs of a lease for a new car.
  • If it is because you need more space because of a new family member, work reasons or just upgrading for space, consider SUVs available under 500CAD/month.
  • If you are considering used vehicles, take at least two weeks of intensive search. The more time you take and the more options you see, the better decision you’ll make.
  • If your car is broken and you urgently need one, consider renting another one for a few days while you decide. 

The best choice will always depend on how clear your judgment was at the moment of closing your next car deal. Good luck!

About the author

Jorge Diaz is a passionate car lover, winter driver & Software Engineer. For the last 10 years, he has built Online Solutions used by more than 5,000 companies across the globe. He founded LeaseCosts in 2016 with the purpose of simplifying and helping people to better understand the complex market of new vehicles in Québec and Canada. You can connect with Jorge in LinkedIn or send him a direct message.

Article reference: 
https://www.leasecosts.ca/en/articles/best-time-buy-car-canada

Buying a Used Car: How to Choose a Payment Option

When the time comes to buy a used car, there are many financial factors to consider. Perhaps your budget will narrow your used car choices, or you may not be aware of the payment options available. We are ready to show you some ways you can pay for your vehicle and to show you that the make and model you desire most may well be within your reach if you plan carefully.

Consider the Time Frame

As you consider payment options, one of the first factors you might want to think about is how long you will be paying for your car. Whether you secure a loan through the bank or choose in-house financing with us and depending on your credit, your loan could be as brief as two or three years or as long as five. It is important to understand the exact terms of the length of your loan before you sign off on a vehicle.

Give Yourself Time

Even if you find yourself needing a new vehicle for your commute to work or school, you should avoid jumping into a deal right away. Take the time to consider your options, as this may help you avoid hefty payments that might be hard to handle later on. For example, ask yourself whether your current car is a valid trade in or if you can secure a down payment that may help lower the cost of a vehicle.

Review Your Budget

One mistake many people make when they shop for used cars is to miscalculate how much they can afford to pay monthly. To avoid this error, you will need to factor more than just the car payment into your auto ownership budget. The cost of insurance, gas and other taxes and fees that will need to be paid when you purchase a vehicle should all be included in your budget to ensure you do not overextend it.

Buying a used car can be a challenge, especially if you are unsure of your payment options. However, being prepared and asking the right questions can help you get the car you want at an affordable payment.

3 Ways Dealers Help You Find the Perfect Used Car

Despite popular beliefs, seeking the assistance of a dealer while searching through the multitude of available used cars is a smart move which any budget-conscious buyer should consider when in the market for a ride of any shape, size or brand. There are many ways in which using our dealership for assistance throughout the shopping process makes the whole experience simpler and much less stressful, but the top three include:

We Offer a Larger Selection

Whereas you may have to drive hours to view a single car when shopping among private sellers, our large selection of vehicles gives the ability to view many new cars at once, increasing your chances of finding the perfect used car quickly. This saves you time, money, and plenty of energy with which to enjoy your newly-purchased ride after the decision has been made.

We Offer Financing Options

In most cases, even used cars have financing options available for buyers of all backgrounds. This means that you won’t be restricted to one or two cars on the lot that fit within your immediate budget. Together, you and our expert staff members can work out a payment plan for practically any of our used vehicles, expanding your opportunities and helping to ensure you find the right car for your needs.

We Offer Quality

Aside from offering an excellent quantity of vehicles, we always ensure that our used cars present quality under the hood as well. Before selling cars to customers, we inspect the vehicle and make repairs as necessary to ensure you’re getting what you pay for: a reliable ride that’ll get you from one place to another without a hassle. When you find the right car, you’ll never have to worry about it being a lemon.

These are just some of the ways in which we can help you find your perfect used car and get you on the road again in no time. Check with us to learn more about your options.

What to Know About Used Cars

When looking at used cars for your next vehicle there are a few things you might want to consider. These factors can help you narrow down your options to find the right car for your needs. Continue reading to learn more.

 

Car History

 

Many dealerships can offer you a history about the used cars they are selling. This can allow you to see if there is anything that concerns you and ask how these things were taken care of before you buy. Your sales associate should be able to look at the history and let you know what, if any, parts were replaced and how the vehicle performs when compared to the dealership’s standards for sale.

 

Mileage

Mileage can be important when considering a used car. Not only can it tell you how often a vehicle was driven when compared with a car’s age, but it’s a good indicator for what type of service the vehicle will need at its next appointment. You can also use the mileage to calculate a vehicle’s fuel economy which can be another important factor for many people.

 

How it Drives

It’s important to test drive any vehicle you’re seriously considering purchasing. This will give you a feel for how it accelerates, turns and stops, so you can see if it’s a good fit for your driving style. You should also be able to get a feel for the seat and visibility, as well as how any controls operate. You should feel comfortable operating any vehicle you use on a regular basis.

 

When selecting from the used cars available consider these factors and how important each is to you. Your dealership should be able to provide you with the car’s history so you can get a feel for its performance. If fuel economy is important to you, you may want to check out the vehicle’s mileage. Last but not least don’t forget a test drive so you can see how it feels to be behind the wheel.