Original Published on Sep 07, 2022 at 13:14
By Rafe Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Despite high fuel prices and increasing concerns about the environment, there is still a demand for trucks in P.E.I.
Robert DeLong, owner of Hillside Chevrolet Buick GMC, told SaltWire Network on Aug. 26 that some dealerships are still only just able to keep up with the demand for trucks.
“So far, we’ve been able to meet the demand, but for just-in-time delivery. Everything that we’re getting is sold shortly after it arrives,” said DeLong.
Before the pandemic, DeLong would have 50 to 60 vehicles on the lot for show. Now there are only about 20-30, and most are sold.
DeLong has sold about 250 new trucks in the last year. The most popular is crew-cab pick-up trucks.
“Those are the majority of what is sold today. Most households (in P.E.I.) have two vehicles, and one is usually a truck,” he said.
The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has also increased significantly, but the lack of electric trucks is still an issue for many dealerships.
Most of the electric vehicles coming in are sold within weeks. Anything electric is considered top of the line today, creating an availability issue.
“Truck sales on P.E.I. are very strong, and it appears it will continue, and as it becomes more available, people will shift to electric for sure,” said DeLong.
With this increased demand for electric vehicles, John MacPherson, sales manager at Discover Kia in Charlottetown, told SaltWire Network that work is planned for construction of several EV chargers on the lot.
In P.E.I., the government has set a goal for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Transportation has the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions in the province, with 63 per cent of those emissions coming from passenger cars and trucks, according to the government of P.E.I.’s website.
With this is mind, investing more in electric vehicles is the more sustainable option at this point, Shawn Winslow, co-owner of the Affordable Car Company dealership, told SaltWire Network during an interview on Aug. 26.
“Six months ago, trucks were in high demand, putting prices at an all-time high. However, the price of trucks has started to level out in recent months,” said Winslow.
“Gas has shifted everything like that.”
Demand for EVs
At his dealership, the demand for trucks has died down, with more requests for cars and EVs coming these days.
However, the price of electric vehicles is sometimes not worth the market value desired, said Winslow.
“We try to aim to sell cars around $20,000. There are not a lot of electric vehicles that are around that price available. You’re likely looking at Teslas that are $60,000,” he said.
MacPherson is also feeling the demand for new EVs.
Most of the cars sold at the dealership are bought months in advance, creating a unique buying market, said MacPherson.
“Not that long ago, I don’t think anyone would have ordered a vehicle without test driving it first, but now with the change of dynamics, that’s almost gone,” he said.
Because Kia doesn’t sell trucks, the demand for SUVs and EVs has gone up.
Until further infrastructure, such as chargers, is more available across the Island, the dealership will likely continue to invest in gas-powered vehicles for the time being.
“A lot of the gas cars right now, the gas mileage has improved so much over the last few years. There are still some good options right now,” said MacPherson.