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Automotive equipment rentals and leasing, 2021

Released: 2022-11-29

Operating revenue, automotive equipment rental and leasing

$7.2 billion


8.9% increase

(annual change)

Automotive equipment rental and leasing operating revenue improved in 2021 but remained below their 2019 pre-pandemic level

Following a sizable decline in 2020, operating revenue of the automotive equipment rental and leasing industry group increased by 8.9% in 2021 to $7.2 billion. This industry group includes establishments primarily engaged in renting or leasing vehicles such as passenger cars, passenger vans, trucks, truck tractors, buses, semi-trailers, utility trailers and recreational vehicles, without drivers.

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect Canadians as there were still limits on international and domestic travel. International flights continued to be restricted to the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport until August 2021. However, public health restrictions began to ease as vaccines and treatments became widely available. An increase in tourism attributable to a reduction in health restrictions led to a higher demand for vehicle rentals. While demand propped up the operating revenue of the automotive equipment rental and leasing industry group, inflationary consumer price pressures led to a 31.9% jump in the price of passenger vehicle rentals in 2021.

Across this industry group, business clients generated 60.5% of operating revenue in 2021, while individual and household sales accounted for 34.5% of operating revenue. Sales to governments accounted for 3.7% of operating revenue, and sales outside Canada contributed to 1.3% of operating revenue.

Operating expenses dropped by 2.2% to $6.0 billion in 2021 as the automotive equipment rental and leasing industry faced inventory fleet supply challenges. Amortization and depreciation remained the largest expense variable, but its share of operating expenses dropped from close to 30% in 2020 to 27.7% in 2021. The next largest expense category, the cost of goods sold, represented 19.2% of the industry's operating expenses, which was up by 1.9 percentage points from 2020. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits represented 15.5% of operating expenses, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points compared with 2020.

With total operating revenue and expenses moving in opposite directions, the operating profit margin for this industry group increased to 17.8% in 2021, from 8.6% in 2020. This is a 5.3-percentage-point increase over the pre-pandemic profit margin of 12.5% in 2019.

Looking at 2022

As tourism activity steadily improved in Canada and was approaching pre-pandemic levels in August 2022, the automotive equipment rental and leasing industry vehicle rental industry continued facing supply fleet challenges that led to further inflationary price pressures for consumers renting a vehicle. The industry continues its recovery, but it is still facing capacity constraints. Detailed financial statistics for the automotive equipment rental and leasing industry for 2022 will be provided following survey data collection in 2023. They will inform on the impacts of these operating limitations at a time of pent-up demand for travel.

  Note to readers

Data for 2019 and 2020 have been revised.

Information on the increased price for rental cars was taken from Table 18-10-004-01.

Information on tourism activity was taken from Table 24-10-0049-01.

These and other data related to business and consumer services can be found on the Business and consumer services and culture statistics Portal.

Contact information

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