Economy

NWT car dealerships struggle to find vehicles, parts


Two NWT car dealerships are still facing low inventory caused by factory closures down south due to Covid-19. One does not expect to recover until January.

Justin Rose, general manager of Yellowknife’s Aurora Ford, says he started noticing problems with the supply chain in July.

“Somewhere about the middle of July, our inventory levels started to sink well below where we would like to see them,” he said.

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“We anticipate that our supply will start to recover early September.”

In Hay River, Aurora Ford general manager Donna Lee Demarcke says she anticipated the shortage back in April – but there wasn’t much the dealership could do about it.

“We basically just had to be aware that it was coming. There’s not a lot that you can really do to prepare for that,” Demarcke said.

“We could have purchased other inventory from other dealers but, at that time, the other dealers were pretty-much in the same boat.” 

Demarcke says factory closures and the changeover to new models means inventory is unlikely to be fully replenished until at least January.

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“September or October we’ll get some more inventory, but then we probably really won’t get much for November or December. It’ll be into January before we start seeing more,” she said.

Aurora Dodge in Yellowknife was the only dealership to tell Cabin Radio its inventory is already heading back toward pre-pandemic levels.

“We’ve got trucks rolling in just-about weekly here and sometimes twice a week,” said Dan Ireland, Aurora Dodge general sales manager.

“I’ve got another transport truck hitting tomorrow and there’ll be one following shortly.

“We’ll actually have quite a few vehicles on the ground here within a short order.”

Yellowknife Motors did not have anyone available for comment.

All general managers said they experienced a hard time even trading or buying vehicles from other dealerships.

“Supply is low, demand is high. So it’s challenging to get vehicles released from other dealers,” said Rose.

Demarcke said: “None of the other dealerships are interested in trading inventory right now because they’re having the same issues. I think countrywide, especially western Canada, we’re seeing most of the dealerships are having a difficult time getting inventory.”

Demarcke says her dealership faces not only a shortage of vehicles, but of parts too.

“Customers are very understanding. We’re explaining what the situations are and they’re working with us and understanding, so we’re managing to get through it, but it has proved to be difficult,” she said.

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