British Columbia

Kelowna luxury car dealer angry about ICBC changes

A luxury car dealership in Kelowna is voicing concerns about a B.C. government plan to no longer insure high-end luxury vehicles.

B.C. government says ICBC will no longer insure cars worth more than $150K

August Luxury Motorcars in Kelowna has sold more than 70 cars worth at least $150,000 since it opened a year ago. This McLaren 675LT is worth almost $750,000. (Christina Low)

A luxury car dealership in Kelowna is speaking out against the B.C. government's plan to no longer insure luxury cars worth more than $150,000.

On Wednesday, Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced the province will soon no longer insure the luxury car rate class so that the average ratepayer is not subsidizing these cars.

"We want to ensure that the regular everyday driver is not paying for the additional repair costs of these cars through their insurance rates," said Stone in a statement.

The province estimates it costs roughly six times more to repair luxury cars because they are rare and built using high-end materials and technologies.

'I just think it's absolutely ridiculous'

"It doesn't make any sense to us why this is happening," said Matt August, owner of August Luxury Motorcars in Kelowna.

His dealership has sold more than 70 cars worth at least $150,000 since it opened a year ago — the most expensive car currently for sale is a 2016 McLaren 675LT worth almost $750,000. 

ICBC will soon no longer insure the high-end luxury car rate class which would include cars like these worth more than $150,000. (Christina Low)

"ICBC doesn't understand 80 per cent of these cars don't get driven. They get driven once a month and out of that once a month, what is the risk of driving your car and getting into an accident? Not much."

Owners of luxury cars will soon have to get private insurance instead, August believes that decision could actually hurt the province financially.

Could affect luxury car rentals

"Most of these people, if they have a business in Alberta, where are they going to register their cars? They're going to register them in Alberta. B.C. is going to lose the tax and B.C. is going to lose the insurance premium. It's simple."

"I just think as a taxpayer, myself, that it's absolutely ridiculous that they can just stop insuring something, because they think it's costing them too much."

August doesn't believe the changes will hurt his car sales, but he runs a separate business renting out luxury vehicles and he expects that business might be affected because of the new challenges in obtaining insurance.

The B.C. government and ICBC say they will start working on the policy changes immediately.

With files from Christina Low