While data from Léger, Deloitte and Angus Reid shows 1 in 2 Canadians are worried making in-person purchases and nearly 1 in 3 unwilling to make a large purchase, Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Sales Regulator, OMVIC, wants consumers who are in the market for a vehicle to know that they can safely buy from registered dealers. These businesses have stringent health and safety protocols in place to protect staff and consumers.
Most of the province’s more than 8,000 registered dealerships are fully up and running, following workplace health guidelines mandated by the Ontario government.
On Monday, July 27, OMVIC CEO and Registrar John Carmichael will visit several dealerships in Huntsville and Bracebridge to understand COVID-19’s impact on retail vehicle sales and see how consumers can safely make purchases.
OMVIC-registered dealerships across the province implemented measures like requiring prospective vehicle-buyers to make an appointment before visiting the dealer’s premises, offering remote test drives and online buying options, and limiting customers in dealer showrooms.
“A car is one major purchase you will make in your life: it’s important it comes with peace-of-mind,” noted Carmichael. “I want to reassure consumers thinking of purchasing a vehicle it’s safe to do so with proper safety precautions.”
After a sluggish quarter, retail vehicle sales in Ontario are showing signs of revival. Buying a car from a local dealership can help boost local economies and contribute to province’s overall fiscal health.
“Most dealers in Ontario are taking all the necessary health and safety precautions—from maintaining physical distancing and wearing PPE, to ensuring premises and vehicles are sanitized regularly.” Carmichael added. “Your visit and purchase will also help local businesses remain sustainable.”
Buying a vehicle privately—through an online marketplace—during the pandemic can pose significant risks. Private sellers may or may not be COVID-savvy, particularly when it comes to sanitizing vehicles.
There’s also the danger posed by unregistered and illegal dealers: curbsiders. Curbsiders usually pose as private sellers and often the vehicles they sell are undisclosed rebuilt wrecks or have rolled-back odometers. While curbsiders commonly pose as private sellers, some sell from small automotive-related businesses like repair centres or body shops. If a consumer is unsure whether a business selling vehicles is actually registered, they should conduct a search on OMVIC’s website, or ask to see the seller’s OMVIC licence. Consumers can also access other resources such as “How to Spot a Curbsider