British Columbia

Metro Vancouver car sales booming thanks to weak loonie

Auto dealers in Metro Vancouver say the weak loonie is vehicle sales from the U.S. — a benefit not only for them, but also for Canadians selling their used cars.

Some exporters are reporting a doubling of sales to the U.S.

GN Motors owner Joe Khaira says most of his stock is going to the U.S. these days. (CBC)

Auto dealers in Metro Vancouver say the weak loonie is driving cross-border vehicle sales to the U.S. — a benefit not only for them, but also for Canadians selling their used cars. 

With the Canadian dollar sinking to an 11-year low this year, car dealers say the export business is booming. Vehicle sales — new and used — are up at many dealerships.

Graham Robins says business at his company A and A Customs Brokers, which transports goods between Canada and the U.S., is up nearly 40 per cent.

"Now that [the exchange rate] is getting to 20 to 30 per cent ... people start thinking seriously about saving major dollars on exporting to the U.S.," he said.

Graham Robins says U.S. sales at his brokerage company are up 40 per cent. (CBC)

He says some of his exporters have doubled their volume in the last few months. The more expensive the vehicle, the greater the savings for Americans looking for a bargain — and the greater the profit for dealers in Canada.

More money for your used car

Used vehicles don't have a long shelf life at GN Motors in Surrey, B.C., these days. Owner Joe Khaira says within 72 hours, 80 per cent of his lot will get shipped south.

"We've grown our business from 20 cars a month to 80 cars a month," said Khaira. "It's great for us."

And it's not just a win for Americans. Khaira said now is the time to cash in for Canadians trying to sell their car.

"If you're trading your car in, let's say it's worth $10,000 two years ago, we can now give you $12,000," said Khaira.

While business is booming for Robins and Khaira, not everyone is happy.

The Globe and Mail reported last month that Nissan Canada was warning dealers that their franchises could be closed down if they exported their cars out of the country. 

With files from Bal Brach

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