By Blair Qualey
Across British Columbia, there are more than 400 franchised new car and truck dealerships that provide almost $16 billion in economic activity. While they are recognized for their role in guiding consumers to the vehicle that will best fit their needs, lifestyle and budget, their relevance goes well beyond that.
The majority of new car dealers are classified as small businesses, meaning they employ less than 50 people, but combined, those members directly and indirectly employ more than 27,000 people in this province in a wide variety of jobs. That’s a significant tax contributor!
Today’s auto industry workforce requires a wide variety of skills, and there are many career opportunities for those looking for jobs in a stable, growing industry. With nearly half of the sector’s workforce anticipated to retire over the next decade, as many as 20,000 positions will need to be filled in trades, such as automotive technicians and other career opportunities ranging from finance to marketing, business development, human resources and more.
To support the movement of young people into training opportunities, the New Car Dealers Foundation of BC exists, providing annual CarCareerBC grants and scholarships to young people for automotive industry programs that lead to work at car dealership – while also supporting other charities throughout B.C. where local dealers are involved. This year’s grant applications open on June 1 – learn more at newcardealersfoundation.ca.
Dealers often have deep roots, with community ties anchoring them to their hometowns. From employment to economic spinoff, charitable contributions to their involvement in sports groups, community or service clubs, our members are active every day in every corner of B.C.
New Car Dealers are also playing a significant role in moving the province to a cleaner, greener economy. More than a dozen years ago, the provincial government set out their strategies for zero emission vehicle adoption. This goal continues today, and our members continue to play a vital role in administering the CleanBC Go Electric Program on behalf of the province. Our collective efforts have placed British Columbia in a leadership role in this country in shifting drivers to clean energy vehicles (over 18 per cent of new vehicles in 2022 in B.C. were EVs)
Buying a vehicle is likely the second biggest purchase that people will make during their lifetime and while technology and innovation will always play a role, we know that most people want people to assist them in making such an important decision.
The majority of consumers will do extensive personal research about a vehicle and the dealership where it may be available, prior to walking onto a lot. However, at the end of the day it’s the expert advice from dealership staff who genuinely cares, (and can help with everything from syncing your phone to the vehicle to other important questions) that continues to be a critical piece of the buying experience.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.