U.S. Economy—Economic conditions south of the border continue to support Canadian vehicle manufacturing: fuel prices are low, U.S. labour markets are near full employment, interest rates are below historical averages, and exchange rates favour U.S. consumers. Although the boom is expected to subside after two years of record sales of light vehicles, the slowdown should occur gradually.
Demographic Change—The aging of the baby-boom population is driving a more muted profile for demand for new vehicles. Lower-than-average vehicle consumption rates among millennials and seniors will ease U.S. vehicle sales from their two-year peak, helping to bring Canada’s auto manufacturing sector back to historical norms.
Trade Uncertainty—Due to automakers’ heavy reliance on internationally integrated supply chains, the current unease in North American trade relations poses a risk to automakers’ investment and production in Canada. Potential changes to rules-of-origin requirements could take a sizable bite out of Canadian auto exports and GDP. The current outlook assumes the continuation of NAFTA.