21 Jun, 2024

Buying a car has never been more expensive, assuming you can even find one — here’s why

Just as it did for nearly every facet of the global economy, the pandemic plunged Canada’s new car market into upheaval, throwing supply and demand completely out of whack.

Factory shutdowns due to COVID-19 made for widespread shortages of parts, filtering down to a historic lack of finished vehicles for sale on dealer lots. And on the demand side, consumers were far less eager to buy what was available, as the economic uncertainty had them holding on to their existing cars much longer than usual.

Three years later, most of the weak links in the supply chain have been fixed, and customers are finally in the mood to buy a new set of wheels again, only to face a new conundrum: prices are higher than they’ve ever been — and that’s if you can even find a car for sale.

Jennifer Nemet knows this first hand. She was in the market for her dream car, a plug-in Toyota Rav4 Prime, but says she was shocked when her local dealer told her how long she should expect to wait for one.

Jennifer Nemet is shown sitting in her new car.
Jennifer Nemeth, pictured in Edmonton on June 5, went to a different automaker when she was told there would be
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