Toronto Star. They write: Vehicle prices up less than inflation. They mean: Demand for cars and trucks is falling

In an article tucked inside the business section of the Toronto Star today we read the headline: “Vehicle prices up less than inflation.”

They aren’t talking about bicycles. They mean cars and trucks.

The demand for “trucks” (minivans, pick-ups and SUVs) remained constant last year at 44% of the “private automobile” market segment. It’s held constant at this share for seven years now, although the average cost of a truck has gone up $3,000 in the past five years. The average cost of a new car in Canada actually fell by $49 last year, but the market segment, including cars and light trucks, was buoyed by the fact that average truck prices rose. The overall rise came to 1.5%.

Inflation in the same period was 1.9% across Canada.

What does this mean?

Well, demand is falling for smaller motor vehicles. In fact, while some environmentally conscious types express hope based on the introduction of small, gas-sipping cars like the hybrid Prius or the miniature “Smart” car, the fact is people aren’t snapping up those small cars the way Kyoto protocolists would wish. In fact, Daimler Chrysler, manufacturer of the Smart car, may be about to “kill it off,” according to the business pages.

The point being?

In short, people aren’t buying cars.

And when people aren’t buying?


Who will benefit?

The advertising companies, of course. But after them, it’s corporate media, such as the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, network television, mass-market magazines. They can all be expecting big payoffs as the car companies try to boost sales.

Who will suffer?

We will. The people.

First, we’ll suffer by being subjected to more and more bilious and morally questionable claims on the part of the auto industry. Expect more gratuitous violence (whether against nature (i.e. trucks despoiling wilderness, or cars causing roadkill), or against marginalized road users (i.e. cyclists and pedestrians)). Expect more denial about the realities of car ownership: car-clogged roads, hunting for parking, paying for insurance, killing for petroleum. Expect more gratuitous sex and overt promises of the effects of metal and motor lubricant on one’s attractiveness and virility.

Second, we’ll suffer as mass media’s already lax objectivity when it comes to cars, the economy, and news, slips even further.

For example, how does the Star business reporter, Tony Van Alphen, who wrote this piece for today’s paper, approach it?

Well, he cites just one source, “president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants,” who says the following: “governments should tax vehicle owners less.”

Huh? Prices are down, so it’s up to government to lower them still further?

2 Responses to “Toronto Star. They write: Vehicle prices up less than inflation. They mean: Demand for cars and trucks is falling”

  1. Spin says:


    In absolute numbers, did demand for new cars and trucks go up, down or hold steady? I don't get that from your post.

    P.S. Love the category you've slotted me (erroneously) in on the sidebar.


    The Star article doesn't clarify the question. The truck part of the equation has held steady for 7 years, but are people buying as many or more cars than they used to? Not explained. I think this is the question I'm getting at, and (simplistically maybe) just applying the formula of "supply and demand" assuming that if prices are dropping, demand must have dropped first.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.