The car industry has changed radically

The automotive sector is one of those most affected by the health crisis, completely changing the habits of dealers and their customers.

In any case, this is the case for us, as confirmed by the CEO of the East Quebec and North Coast Car Dealership Corporation, Richard Michaud, and the President of Groupe Véloce, Vincent Beauchesne, who operates three dealerships in Rivière. -du-Loup Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac and Tourville, one under the banner of Mitsubishi and two under the banner of Chrysler.

Not overnight

Those who haven’t bought a car in five years will make a leap!

Gone are the days of getting into a car dealership and getting out of your new or used car in less than 24 hours. “To use a local expression,” it has been turning slowly “in the world of automotive, if we compare the before and after of the health crisis,” says Mr. Michaud.

From today

“If I had one piece of advice to give to the consumer, it would be this: If you never plan to buy a new car next year, come see us today!” Added Mr Beauchesne.

“Before the pandemic, we already had a 60-minute delivery policy. Today is not a promotion that we could consider and I could hardly give you orders of magnitude for the time it may take now. It depends on many things. Car sales have changed, that’s for sure. It has to be bought a year in advance, if you want to change vehicles, ”says Vincent Beauchesne.

Vincent Beauchesne (Photo: courtesy)

Best Practices

According to the latter, business practices have also been adjusted accordingly and have led to an improvement in the perception of the public about the sector: “I will give you an example: today we no longer negotiate the price of a car. There is a price and it is a shown price. I think the car industry will live better days in terms of consumer perception. Everything is clear, everything is transparent and as they say: that is. »

50% hybrid or all-electric cars

The health crisis has not only changed everything, but the energy crisis has added another layer. A well-known company that has just closed one of its self-service shops in Rimouski speaks of “migrating to electricity”. An explanation that seems unheard of in such situations. But here it is, it is estimated that 50% of the cars currently sold are hybrid or 100% electric.

“The price of gasoline at $ 2 a liter has changed a lot. »

Sold in advance

“The price of gasoline at $ 2 a liter has changed a lot. There were people who had been thinking about it for a long time, who had stopped thinking about it and who have now decided to take action by purchasing a hybrid or 100% electric car. The problem is that we are missing out. People buy, but buy in advance. They sign contracts, make deposits, are very patient and determined. When their vehicle arrives, they grab it. I don’t know the sales details of all our dealerships, but I can say that Rimouski’s Toyota and Hyundai dealerships currently have 100 pre-sold electric cars, ”says Richard Michaud.

Distributors try to keep an example of each model as a demonstrator. (Image: file)

Never seen before

“This is unprecedented. The ways of doing things have changed because there is no more inventory. It will not be fixed tomorrow morning. There has been a shortage of parts, factories closed during the night due to COVID, there are developing countries like Bangla All their factories have been shut down, and it was they who were outsourced, such as car seats, door covers, interior fittings, and manufacturers had to turn around to contract. other countries that built new factories. It delayed the whole supply and assembly chain everywhere, “recalls Richard Michaud.

How we buy today

“All the distributors and all the manufacturers are present on the Internet, but people do not buy on the Internet. You have to make the distinction. There they receive information and request an appointment. Sometimes they are better informed than the seller. They will test a demonstrator and then sign a contract, a contract that does not contain the amount of the sale, because right now we don’t know. If the vehicle arrives in a year, its price may vary. The client is placed in a list. For this model, we might say, “You’re 35e in the list. 35e it’s for you. Dealers try to keep at least one of each model in stock to allow driving tests. After 2,000 or 3,000 kilometers of wear and tear, the protester is put up for sale again, another one arrives and so on “, specifies Mr. Michaud on the evolution of transactions in 2022.

A year of waiting

“Depending on the models, we can estimate how long it will take. If we talk about a 100% electric vehicle, we are just over a year old. For hybrids, it’s a little shorter, because demand is less strong. People are now becoming 100% electric. They don’t want to put more gas. Before the pandemic, it was not as strong as that, because here the distances are great. Autonomy is getting better and better, sales have also increased here. You can go to Quebec, connect your vehicle at night and come back the next day. I think more than 50% of the vehicles ordered in our region are now 100% electric or hybrid, “Michaud said.

Used vehicles

In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think about using used vehicles, according to Richard Michaud. “Used vehicle inventories are also visibly declining.”

Never again

The next convention of the Corporation of Eastern Quebec Dealers will be held September 20-22 in Rivière-du-Loup. “One of the big issues will surely be the offer of models. It’s not curious to see dealers who have $ 4 or $ 5 million in car-free facilities for sale. It is critical. There is less cost because there is less inventory, no snow removal to do or almost no, and so on. The last two winters we had to pack six vehicles to be able to remove snow in a few minutes, whereas before it was quite an operation with 150 or 180 vehicles in the yard. »

“We do not believe that it will be the same again. “At the moment, the customer is asking for exactly the car he wants and is willing to wait for it,” said Richard Michaud.

The greenest

The Green Car of the Year award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada was on May 27 for Polestar II, a company created by Volvo and its major shareholder, the Chinese group Geely. Its pre-incentive cost is $ 54,000.

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