‘High levels’ of vehicle usage positive for Canada’s aftermarket

by | May 8, 2024 | 0 comments

The latest study results point to a strong rebound in kilometers driven by Canadians.

Key among the data highlights released by the DesRosiers Automotive Consultants are the increase in fuel consumptions, even above 2019 levels, despite vehicle fuel economy improving and the impact of BEV, PHEVs and Hybrids also putting downward pressure on fuel consumption.

“Clearly Canadians are continuing to use their vehicles at high levels” commented Andrew King, Managing Partner at DAC. He continued “Even with a gradually changing fleet, gasoline consumption demonstrates that Canadians remain reliant on their vehicles and that broader usage patterns remain strong; a positive sign for the automotive aftermarket.”

Kilometres driven is one of the key dynamics for the automotive aftermarket, significantly influencing vehicle maintenance cycles for a range of aftermarket product areas.

DAC closely tracks this variable using a variety of inputs including consumer surveys, geo-mobility data, and gas consumption.

The consulting firm recently finished tabulating 2023 gas consumption data and said that “the results were interesting” :

  • Overall gas consumption for 2023 came in at nearly 43 million cubic metres;
  • Gas consumption was 17.3% above the pandemic hit year of 2020;
  • Consumption was 1.1% above 2019 results.

DAC highlights that the rise in consumption over 2019 levels was all the more notable due to the impact of electrification and improvements in ICE conumption.

DAC says its analysis of vehicles in operation in Canada indicates that PHEVs and BEVs (which use no gas and relatively little gas respectively) accounted for approximately 0.5% and 1.5% of the fleet as of 2023.

Assertions about Canadians’ increased driving are echoed in other recently released studies.

The data-heavy Vehicle travel trends in Canada: Q1 2020 to Q4 2023 report from AIA Canada released earlier this year came to much the same general conclusion:

“For the auto care sector, it is encouraging to see the uplift in vehicle mobility metrics like [vehicle miles travelled, VMT] throughout 2022, albeit not back to pre-COVID levels. Structural changes in working practices, as well as persistent forecasts of economic slowdown remain barriers to full recovery.

“Assuming some form of working from home (WFH) will be permanent, at least over the near-term, the more significant driver of mobility recovery in 2023 may be macroeconomic conditions. On the one hand, if Canadians are fearful of recession, we can expect to see continued flatlining of key mobility metrics like VMT through the balance of the year.

“On the other hand, given that several macroeconomic indicators like employment, immigration, and gross domestic product (GDP) remain stubbornly positive, continued VMT growth remains possible.

“On balance, we are of the view that we will see continued recovery in VMT and related mobility metrics through the balance of 2023, albeit at low single, not double-digit levels.

“Canada is a large country with relatively few people. With no pandemic fear or restrictions, Canadians will continue to drive.”


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