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If you’re in the market for a car, SUV or pickup truck, prepare for a rough road ahead. Prices and financing rates remain high, and dealer fees have risen as well. Also, there are still waiting lists for some vehicles. For some thoughts on how to navigate the vehicle market, I invited Dan Park, CEO of, to do a newsletter Q&A. Clutch is an online used car marketplace, and it also helps people find deals on new cars. Here’s an edited version of our exchange:

Q: Dan, used car prices spiked higher in the pandemic because of a scarcity of new vehicles. Where are used vehicle prices today in comparison to the pandemic peak?

A: During the pandemic, the global auto industry underproduced an estimated 13 million vehicles, leading to a severe supply shortage of new vehicles and a consequent spike in used vehicle prices. Prices have since declined over 20 per cent from their peak in May 2022, but they remain 48 per cent higher than in January 2019. While we don’t anticipate an increase in used car prices, they will likely stay persistently high over the next few years.

Q: What’s the benefit of buying a vehicle a year or two old compared to a new vehicle?

A: As a general guideline, new cars depreciate approximately 15 to 20 per cent of their value in the first year and around 8 to 12 per cent per year thereafter. The rate of depreciation can vary depending on the make, model, condition, mileage, and market demand for the vehicle. Additionally, by opting for a used vehicle over a new one, you can also save an average of $2,000 on freight costs that are typically added to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of all new vehicles.

Q: What are the most in-demand car, SUV and pickup models for new and used vehicle buyers these days? Are these vehicles in short supply still, or can buyers find what they’re looking for?

A: The most popular vehicles remain consistent, with Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas being our most popular sedans, and Toyota RAV4s, Honda CR-Vs, and Nissan Rogues as our top SUVs. Pickup trucks, with Ford F-150s and Ram 1500s leading, continue to be among the best-selling vehicles in Canada. Over the past year, 3 million searches were conducted on, with Civics, Corollas, RAV4s, CR-Vs and Accords accounting for 22.5 per cent of all searches.

Currently, domestic automakers, including brands like Dodge, Chrysler, Lincoln, and Ram, have higher inventory levels. In contrast, Asian imports, such as Toyota and Honda, show lower inventory levels.

Q: If buying new, how much negotiation room is there these days? Are any buyers paying more than the MSRP?

A: Supply and demand dynamics for specific makes and models still dictate negotiation leeway. Some models, like the Toyota Sienna and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid + Plug-Ins, have wait times of six months or more, leaving little room for negotiation as dealerships can move to the next person on the waitlist. While customers aren’t generally paying much over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, some dealers have increased administrative and freight charges on new vehicles. Additionally, vehicles priced above $45,000 currently have higher inventory levels, sell more slowly, and thus provide more room for negotiation. There has been decreased demand for vehicles in this price range due to significant interest rate increases over the past 12 months. For instance, we recently sold a Rivian R1S with less than 2,000 km, originally priced at $143,000, for $116,000.

Q: Which brands/models depreciate the least?

A: Our data indicates that Toyotas retain their value best, with the lowest annual depreciation of approximately $2,500 per year, or 7 per cent, closely followed by other Japanese competitors with an average of 8 per cent. German manufacturers, including Audi, Mercedes, and BMW, experience the highest annual depreciation, around 11 per cent. American manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet, and Jeep fall in the middle, with an average annual depreciation of 9 per cent.

Plug-in and fully electric vehicles have seen the highest depreciation as a segment, with models like the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona EV experiencing depreciation of up to $10,000 in a single year, or nearly a 25 per cent drop. However, hybrid vehicles maintain strong resale values, with a 7 per cent annual depreciation rate.

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Q: I have been reading a lot about bare trusts. My question is, are joint accounts between a husband and wife considered a bare trust by CRA? The articles talk about grandparents or parents jointly holding accounts with grandchildren or children, but I could not find a reference to husband and wife joint accounts.

A: I called the CRA help line recently for help in completing a T3 trust information form and was told by a rep that joint accounts between spouses are not considered a bare trust.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

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