• New-car Dealers

Dealers Voice: New-car Dealers Fuelling Ontario Job Growth

Despite this remarkable job growth, we are suffering a shortage of skilled trades workers.

Cliff Lafreniere By: Cliff Lafreniere March 10, 2020

The 2020 Canadian International AutoShow, presented by the Toronto Star and Wheels.ca, has waved the checkered flag, and I’m pleased to report this year’s show was a resounding success.

More than 334,000 visitors were dazzled by an eclectic range of automotive displays and exhibits reflecting the “transformative times” theme of the show.

Ten totally new manufacturer exhibits within the show demonstrated clearly the industry’s commitment to the market. With 38 Canadian vehicle premieres and 10 exotic concept cars on show, the audience was given a real taste of what’s happening globally in the sector and where the future of transportation is going.

The first-ever WomenDriven event, spearheaded by Susan Gubasta, president of the 2020 AutoShow and former president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, was sold out. The inaugural event was designed to attract more women to the automotive industry.

New-car Dealers

Once again, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) was proud to support Prostate Cancer Canada. This year, our association donated two 2020 Toyota Supras — a GR Supra Nocturnal and GR Supra Renaissance (valued at $152,000).

The winner of the Toyota Supras was announced during the AutoShow — congratulations to Halton Hills resident Nelson Peixoto! This eighth Rock the Road Raffle was the first time two cars were given away.

The Rock the Road Raffle supports families facing prostate cancer — the cause gets 100 per cent of the proceeds raised from the draw. Since 2013, Prostate Cancer Canada has been the beneficiary of the raffle, raising $3 million to help end prostate cancer.

The AutoShow is a total immersive experience that allows car lovers to learn about the latest trends and ideas reinventing the automotive industry — an industry that continues to grow and evolve with lightning speed.

A recent study commissioned by the TADA found new-car dealers are creating jobs and increasing tax revenue for governments — showcasing that auto dealers continue to be a significant driver of Ontario’s economy.

TADA members — nearly 1,000 franchised, new-car dealers across Ontario — generated and supported 85,300 jobs in 2018. This marks a 10 per cent increase from 2016, according to the study by PwC Canada.

Direct employment by TADA members increased to 44,500 in 2018, representing a 6.2 per cent increase over 2016. This large increase in job creation provides much-needed tax revenue for governments to deliver the services Ontario families depend on, such as health care and education.

The PwC Canada study also said one in 20 retail jobs in Ontario is directly sustained by TADA members, that TADA members contributed and facilitated a total of $13.9 billion in GDP in 2018 — a 14 per cent increase from $12.15 billion in 2016 — and the average weekly earnings at auto dealerships were $1,088 per week or $438 higher than the average weekly earnings in the retail trade overall.

When most people think of the auto sector, the retail side is too often an afterthought in terms of career options. This study suggests what auto dealers like me have known our entire lives — when new-car dealers are able to succeed, the communities they operate in and the entire province succeed.

Despite this remarkable job growth, we are suffering a shortage of skilled trades workers. Every dealer I talk to across Ontario has difficulty finding the next generation of auto technicians. Our message to everyone is: consider looking for a career at a new-car dealership, because we’re hiring.

If you are looking to start a career, or to change careers, I urge you to consider the retail automotive industry. In terms of potential earnings and job fulfilment, the sky is the limit.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.