There has never been a better time to buy a car in Canada

    OTTAWA, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Consumers looking for a great deal in
uncertain economic times should look no further than the retail automotive
sector, said Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) Chief Economist
Michael Hatch. A number of factors in today's economy have combined to bring
car prices to near-record lows in recent months.
    "In 2008, car prices declined to a 23-year low as a ratio of personal
disposable income," said Mr. Hatch. "A vehicle purchased last year cost, on
average, just 18.2 weeks of pre-tax income for the typical Canadian family.
This is the lowest this ratio has been since 1985."
    This situation is due to a number of factors. First, many of the cars we
see currently on dealers' lots were purchased earlier last year when the
Canadian dollar was at or near parity with the U.S. dollar. Also,
manufacturers that are facing a difficult set of circumstances are
aggressively seeking new business by offering more incentives to buyers. The
end result is quite simple: "We don't believe there's ever been a better time
to buy a car in Canada," explained Mr. Hatch.
    These factors have been reflected in recent price levels. Statistics
Canada's consumer price index released today shows that in January, the price
to purchase or lease a car decreased by 8.2 per cent from the previous month.
    "What we need to avoid in Canada is a drying up in consumer credit that
is vital to finance car purchases, like we've seen happen in the United
States," said Mr. Hatch. "The federal government has helped in this regard
with the $12 billion credit facility it made available in its latest budget.
This should soon start to ease the liquidity concerns facing dealers and
consumers alike."
    Canada's dealer network directly employs more than 140,000 Canadians in
virtually every community in the country.

    The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) is the national
association for franchised automobile dealerships that sell new cars and
trucks. Our 3,500 dealers represent a key sector of Canada's economy. Through
our dealers, we are represented in nearly every community and those dealers
collectively employ over 140,000 people across the country.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Hatch, CADA Chief Economist, (613)
230-2079, Cell: (613) 355-6233,; Huw Williams, CADA Director of
Public Affairs, (613) 230-2079, Cell: (613) 797-9583,

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Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA)

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