Market Snapshot: New motor vehicle registrations show increase in SUVs and EVs

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Release date: 2020-06-03

New motor vehicle registrations in Canada decreased by 3%, a drop of over 55 000, from 2017 to 2018; however registrations of sport utility vehicles (SUVs)Footnote 1 and electric vehicles (EVs) have increased. SUV registrations increased by 3.3%, and registrations of various EVs (including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles) increased by 60.4% in the same period. New motor vehicle registration data since late 2014 shows a transition away from passenger cars and towards larger vehicles (SUVs, pick-up trucks, and mini vans).

Figure 1. Annual New Motor Vehicle Registrations in Canada 2011-2018

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada

Description: This line graph shows that SUVs and crossovers are driving the increase in new large vehicle registration, with pick-up trucks and mini vans showing slight declines from 2017 to 2018. In comparison, sales of passenger cars have been falling since 2015. EV registrations have been increasing since 2015.

Growth in EV registrations could be from a variety of reasons, including policies and regulations encouraging EV adoption in various provinces. The federal government also launched an EV incentive in May 2019. The number of available EV models has been steadily increasing, giving consumers more purchase options. EVs are generally more expensive to buy than conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However, costs are falling, and EVs are more energy efficient than ICE vehicles, which could lead to cost savings when driving. EVs also have maintenance costs that are about 70% below comparable ICE vehicles.Footnote 2

Recent new motor vehicle sales data show a 3.7% drop in 2019.Footnote 3 Vehicle sales and new registrations in 2020 will likely be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts. At the same time, transportation is evolving as governments make investments in public transit and ride-sharing services increase. Canada Energy Regulator’s Canada’s Energy Future 2019, shows transportation energy use declining approximately 10% over the next 25 years given current policies and trends. However, future policies, consumer preferences, and technologies (including electrification) are key uncertainties to the projection.

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