AutoCanada Reports 2020 First Quarter Results

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AutoCanada Reports 2020 First Quarter Results

Canada NewsWire

EDMONTON, AB, June 3, 2020 /CNW/ - AutoCanada Inc. ("AutoCanada" or the "Company") (TSX: ACQ), a multi-location North American automobile dealership group, today reported its financial results for the three month period ended March 31, 2020.

"In response to the COVID-19 situation, we took immediate and proactive steps to ensure the well-being and safety of our employees and customers and the continuity of our operations. We implemented cost and cash spending reduction measures and have worked closely with our various stakeholders to limit the impact on the Company's liquidity. Our recent refinancing of the credit facility and debentures also substantially strengthened our balance sheet heading into the COVID-19 pandemic," said Paul Antony, Executive Chairman of AutoCanada.

"In the near-term, our primary focus is to protect cash and liquidity while continuing to safely adapt our operations according to various government guidelines. Our strategy for the long term remains intact as we believe we will regain the positive momentum from our Go Forward Plan over the past several quarters and emerge from this downturn even stronger and nimbler," concluded Mr. Antony.

2020 First Quarter Key Highlights and Recent Developments

All comparisons presented below are between the three-month period ended March 31, 2020 and the three-month period ended March 31, 2019, unless otherwise indicated.

Executive Overview

The Company continued to realize ongoing traction and momentum across its complete business model through the end of February 2020, recording strong year-over-year dealership gains. However, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic materially and negatively impacted results for the last half of March and more than offset the positive performance to that point.

Our immediate priorities at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic included focusing on the safety of our people and customers, and ensuring we followed all government requirements to safely address the pandemic. Operationally, the Company realized a dramatic reduction in revenues and unit sales in the last two weeks of the quarter as a result of the developing pandemic crisis. During this time, management developed and staged an action plan to both mitigate losses and protect cash and liquidity. Cost reduction actions included employee layoffs, aggressive expense management and deferral of all discretionary costs. Cash management actions included an amendment to our syndicated credit facility (the "Credit Facility") providing covenant relief through June 30, 2021, the suspension of our dividend, and the deferral of capital spending that roughly halved our annualized break even cash flow to approximately $30 million. These actions provide us with ample liquidity and full access to the $175 million revolving facility in our Credit Facility.

While these measures were taken with an eye towards managing a range of COVID-19 impacts to date and combined with the effect of these measures, we are seeing a more moderate than initially expected impact from COVID-19 in our second quarter performance. We have experienced steady improvements in revenue and profitability since the end of March 2020, as restrictions begin to ease, and our business model adapts to the new 'normal'. Notably, Canadian new and used retail sales progressively improved from a decrease of (54)% for the last two weeks of March to a decrease of (49)% for the month of April to a decrease of (16)% for the month of May (all months on a year-over-year basis), reflecting a substantially stronger positive trend from the previous 6 weeks.

Despite the market conditions in Q1 2020, the Company continued to outperform the Canadian market. Consolidated revenues of $708.8 million in Q1 reflected a reduction of (4.1)% over the prior year while same store new retail unit sales decreased by (16.9)% as compared to the Canadian market decrease of (18.7)%, for brands represented by AutoCanada, as reported by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. The effects of COVID-19 on revenues in the last half of March (typically a seasonally stronger month than January and February) drove Adjusted EBITDA to $5.7 million, down $(5.8) million from the prior year. Net indebtedness (total indebtedness less cash and cash equivalents on hand) increased by $12.1 million from $157.9 million at the end of Q4 2019 to $170.0 million at the end of Q1 2020. As of May 31, 2020, the Company had reduced its overall net indebtedness by approximately $(20) million, to $150 million.

The Company completed both the refinancing of its senior unsecured debentures and the renewal of its syndicated credit facility in February 2020, substantively improving the Company's credit profile and financial flexibility, and enhancing the average tenor of our overall debt profile as of March 31, 2020 from approximately 13 months to approximately 4 years. As a result, the Company entered this COVID-19 pandemic environment with the strongest balance sheet in recent history.

Consolidated AutoCanada Highlights


For the first two months of 2020, our performance improved compared to the prior year, as evidenced by an increase in total retail vehicles sold of 2%. In March, the positive traction and momentum was negatively impacted by the effects of COVID-19.

For the three-month period ended March 31, 2020:

  • Revenue was $708.8 million, a decrease of $(30.5) million or (4.1)%

  • Total vehicles sold were 13,735, a decrease of (2,008) units or (12.8)%

  • A total impairment charge of $(31.5) million is comprised of $(22.7) million impairment of the Canadian operating segment and $(8.9) million related to the U.S operating segment. The impairment charge was recognized as a result of indicators and market conditions arising from the potential future impacts of COVID-19.

  • Net income (loss) for the period was $(46.9) million (or $(1.70) per diluted share) versus $(2.7) million (or $(0.10) per diluted share).

  • Adjusted EBITDA decreased by (50.3)% to $5.7 million, a decrease of $(5.8) million.

  • Ending net indebtedness was $170.0 million; based on cash and cash equivalents and availability on our Credit Facility, our liquidity was $125 million.

Canadian Operations Highlights


Management continued to execute its complete business model during the quarter. Prior to the impacts of COVID-19, earnings performance was driven by a combination of strong new and used unit growth, our F&I initiative, and our focus on improving used retail vehicle sales. For the fifth consecutive quarter, we outperformed the Canadian market, as same store new retail unit sales decreased by (16.9)% as compared to the market decrease of (18.7)%, for brands represented by AutoCanada, as reported by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Sales and gross profit performance was supported by our focus on OEM relationships, which includes achieving sales unit and customer satisfaction targets and our ongoing focus on our complete business model. Our F&I initiative helped increase gross profit per retail unit average to $2,679, an increase of 16.5% year-over-year. Our used to new retail units increased to 1.08 from 0.85 in the prior year.

For the first two months of 2020, Canadian revenue increased by approximately 14% and total retail vehicles sold increased by 6%. However, towards the end of Q1 2020, the impact of COVID-19 resulted in a slow-down in the Canadian market as business shut-down orders were implemented across provinces and cities. Historically, March accounts for approximately double of the first two months of Q1 performance. The approximate two-week impact of COVID-19 in March was the primary driver of the decline noted in the Q1 2020 results.

  • Revenue was $626.6 million, a reduction of (1.4)%

  • Total retail vehicles sold were 10,955, a decrease of (1,297) units or (10.6)%

    • Same store new and used retail unit sales decreased by (7.8)% to 10,438

      • Same store used retail unit sales increased by 2.4%
  • Used to new retail units ratio increased to 1.08 from 0.85, an increase of 27.2%

  • Net (loss) income for the period was $(32.6) million, down (613.4)% from a net income of $6.4 million in 2019. 2020 results included impairment charges of $(22.7) million.

  • Adjusted EBITDA decreased (48.8)% to $8.7 million, a decrease of $(8.3) million.

    • Included in these results was a $2.3 million foreign exchange loss to eliminate all forward contract exposure associated with the cross-border wholesale division at quarter end.

U.S. Operations Highlights


The U.S. Operations segment continued to see improvements when compared to the prior year, including full quarter growth in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA despite COVID-19. Time in position for the new management team has positively impacted the progress of operational performance. Management's focus on profitability by ensuring vehicle profits are not sacrificed in the pursuit of vehicle unit sales and continued improvements to the expense structure, despite the Company ceasing operations of two U.S. franchises on November 11, 2019, has resulted in an improvement in Adjusted EBITDA to $(3.0) million, as compared to $(5.5) million in the prior year.

  • Revenue was $82.2 million, a decrease of (20.9)%

  • Retail unit sales decreased to 1,743 , down (684) units or (28.2)%

  • Net (loss) income for the period was $(14.2) million versus $(9.0) million in 2019. Current period results included impairment charges of $8.9 million

  • Adjusted EBITDA was $(3.0) million, an increase of $2.5 million from 2019

Same Store Metrics


Total same store new and used retail unit sales for Canadian Operations decreased by (7.8)% to 10,438, with new retail units showing a decrease of (16.9)% and used retail units showing an increase of 2.4%. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Company continues to strengthen and build on our complete business model, inclusive of the Finance and Insurance department growth, as demonstrated by the increase in average F&I gross profit per retail unit of $321 per unit compared to the prior year. The decrease of new retail units by (16.9)% outperformed the market decrease of (18.7)% in the Canadian new vehicle market for the brands represented by AutoCanada, as reported by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. The same stores metric includes only Canadian dealerships which have been owned for at least two full years since acquisition.

  • Revenue increased to $579.4 million, an increase of 0.8%

  • Gross profit decreased by $(2.2) million or (2.1)%

  • Used to new retail units ratio increased to 1.10 from 0.89

  • Finance and insurance gross profit per retail unit average increased to $2,614, up 14.0% or $321 per unit; gross profit increased to $27.3 million as compared to $26.0 million in the prior year

  • Parts, service and collision repair gross profit decreased to $41.4 million, a decrease of (6.4)%

Financing and Investing Activities and Other Recent Developments


The Company completed the following financing transactions on February 11, 2020:

  • Entered into an amended and restated $950 million Credit Facility, with a maturity date of February 11, 2023

  • Issued $125 million of 8.75% senior unsecured notes due February 11, 2025, with the proceeds used to refinance the senior notes due May 25, 2021

The transactions improved the overall credit profile of the Company, increasing the average tenor as of March 31, 2020 of long-term debt from approximately 13 months to approximately 4 years. As at March 31, 2020, based on cash and cash equivalents and availability on our Credit Facility, our liquidity was $125 million.

In response to the impacts of COVID-19, management has taken the following financial resilience measures to manage liquidity for the next twelve months:

  • Executed Credit Facility amendment dated April 20, 2020 that extends covenant relief to June 30, 2021

    • Includes replacement of Q2 2020 results with Q2 2019 results for covenant calculation purposes
  • Suspension of the quarterly $0.10 dividend

  • Reduction in budgeted capital expenditures to approximately $12 million for the year

Our immediate focus has been on preserving cash and managing liquidity. As of May 31, 2020, we have reduced our net indebtedness by approximately $(20) million, to $150 million, from $170 million as at March 31, 2020. By replacing Q2 2020 financial results with Q2 2019 financial results for covenant calculation purposes, we have addressed covenant risks brought on by COVID-19.

Q2 2020 To Date Update

Based on current trending information, as noted previously, the impacts of COVID-19 on our business model have been more moderate than initially expected. We entered Q2 2020 well prepared as a result of management's actions taken to date, continued refinement of our business model, and successful actioning of various initiatives.

The graph below visualizes the impact COVID-19 had on our Canadian year-to-date retail unit results. More importantly, the graph supports the efficacy of our business model with the resulting year-over-year improvements from the prior year in January and February and trending improvements in May 2020.

Canadian Retail Vehicle Unit Count YoY% Change

Canadian Retail Vehicle Unit Count YoY% Change (CNW Group/AutoCanada Inc.)

COVID-19 Response

Actions Taken in Response to COVID-19

Since the outset of COVID-19, the Company has carefully followed the most current direction of government and related health agencies in our policies and procedures across our operations. To that end, we continue to implement stringent operating practices to ensure personal protection, cleanliness, distancing, overall employee and customer safety, work from home protocols wherever possible, halting all non-essential travel, and following established guidelines in the event an infected employee is identified.

The Company continues to operate in accordance with local government orders regarding the operation of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19. From mid-March to mid-May, AutoCanada was providing service operations and limited sales in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Illinois, only service operations in Quebec, and full operations in the balance of Canada. Currently, in conjunction with the re-opening of the market and staged easing of restrictions, AutoCanada's Canadian dealerships are now fully operational and U.S. dealerships continue to provide service operations and sales by appointment only. We continue to monitor and ensure our operations comply with all restrictions.

Across all our operations, AutoCanada will continue to safely support customers with their vehicle servicing and purchasing requirements, and customers are encouraged to contact their local dealership as needed.

Combined with the measures taken as identified below, and the Company's comprehensive business model, management believes the Company to be well-positioned to operate within the COVID-19 environment. We continue to be mindful of the potential impacts of COVID-19 over the coming months and will remain focused on managing cash and liquidity.

Financial Resilience Measures Taken

In the near-term, our main priority is to manage our liquidity and ensure we remain adaptable and resilient through the coming quarters. The Company has taken measures to enhance financial resilience in response to the evolving market conditions due to COVID-19. These measures are designed to address immediate challenges, while reinforcing the balance sheet given the pandemic is expected to continue for an unknown period of time.

Key cash management actions taken include an amendment to our Credit Facility that provided covenant relief through June 30, 2021, the suspension of our dividend, and the deferral of capital spending that roughly halved our annualized break even cash flow to approximately $30 million. These actions provide us with ample liquidity and full access to the $175 million revolving facility in our Credit Facility.

Amendment to our Credit Facility
The Company has amended its Credit Facility, effective April 20, 2020, to provide additional covenant headroom through to the end of Q2 2021. AutoCanada received staged covenant relief thresholds for the Total and Senior Net Funded Debt to Bank EBITDA and Fixed Charge Coverage Ratios through to Q2 2021. Effective July 1, 2021, or earlier at the Company's discretion, all covenant thresholds revert to their prior levels.

The amendment also provides additional covenant relief as the Company will be replacing Q2 2020 results impacted by COVID-19 with Q2 2019 results when calculating Q2 2020 Bank Adjusted EBITDA. Management is actively managing the risks of COVID-19 on financial covenants by both replacing Q2 2020 results and obtaining the staged covenant relief thresholds through to June 30, 2021.

In addition, the amendment provides for a suspension of curtailment payments under the floorplan facility through the end of June 2020 and an extension of repayments in respect of export vehicles.

Overview of Cost Management and Other Actions
The Company has taken the following additional actions to manage through the COVID-19 situation, with a focus on preserving cash and maintaining financial flexibility throughout this period of uncertainty.

  • Employee Layoffs and Compensation
    At the peak of the COVID-19 situation, the Company had laid off approximately 1,700, or 40%, of AutoCanada's workforce. Management is actively managing the business model and will continue to adjust based on changing business conditions.

    In addition, the Company will realize the benefit of reduced compensation expenses associated with our variable cost structure.

  • Discretionary Vendor and Landlord Expenses
    The Company has deferred, reduced, or eliminated most discretionary and non-essential operational and administrative spending. Advertising costs account for a large portion of these expenses. In addition, management continues to work with several vendors and landlords to reduce costs through this period and/or defer payments on goods, services, and rent beyond the second quarter of 2020. Management anticipates positive cash and Adjusted EBITDA impacts from these initiatives.

  • Capital Expenditures
    The Company has reduced its capital spending to a minimum and expects to incur approximately $12 million for the year. As a reference point, total annual growth capital expenditures have averaged $29 million over the last two years.

  • Suspension of Dividend
    The Board of Directors of the Company has suspended the quarterly dividend until further notice. We believe this is a prudent decision to strengthen the Company's balance sheet until the full economic consequences of COVID-19 are better understood. This temporary suspension of our dividend represents approximately $11 million in annualized cash savings and approximately $8 million for the balance of 2020. The Company intends to reinstate a dividend in the future when a greater degree of visibility and normalcy returns.

  • Non-Core Asset Portfolio
    The Company continues to liquidate its portfolio of non-core assets, valued at $13.1 million as at March 31, 2020. During the first quarter of 2020, the Company realized proceeds of $1.1 million on the sale of one of these properties.

  • Government Programs and Subsidies
    The Company has been monitoring our eligibility for various government assistance programs available in response to the effects of COVID-19. We anticipate receiving assistance from the following government programs in Q2 2020:


  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy ("CEWS"): Passed on April 11, 2020, the CEWS provides support to employers facing financial hardship as measured by certain revenue declines resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CEWS provides a reimbursement of 75% of employee wages, to a maximum weekly benefit of $847 per employee, subject to meeting certain criteria. This subsidy is available for up to 24 weeks, from March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. We have applied for the CEWS for the period from March 15 to April 11, 2020 in the amount of $6.8 million. Additionally, we have qualified for the CEWS for the period from April 12 to June 6, 2020 and expect to receive approximately $10.0 million. We will assess our eligibility for the remaining 12 week period of the program (June 7 to August 29, 2020) in accordance with the relevant program requirements.

  • Deferral of corporate income tax installments.

  • Deferral of GST, HST and PST remittances and customs duty payments.

  • Deferral of property tax, workers compensation premiums and other payments.


  • In April 2020, our U.S. dealerships received approximately $5.4 million (USD) in loans, with potential for partial forgiveness, under the Paycheck Protection Program implemented by the Small Business Administration. This program provides businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits, as well as mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

    Management anticipates that the majority of the government assistance programs will be non-recurring financial support isolated to Q2 2020, unless otherwise extended, as noted for the CEWS.

  • Board, Executive and Employee Compensation
    The Company's Executive Chairman and the Board of Directors voluntarily accepted a 50% reduction to their salary and fees respectively for Q2 2020. In addition, the Company's executive management team voluntarily accepted a 25% reduction to their base salaries for Q2 2020.

    The Company has also deferred all salary increases until further notice.

  • Actions Related to Hedging
    The Company took a charge of $2.3 million to Adjusted EBITDA in Q1 2020 to eliminate all forward contract exposure associated with the cross-border wholesale division. This was done to mitigate the further risk of currency fluctuations impacting available cash, particularly during a period of limited cross-border activity.

    The Company has successfully restructured nearly one-third of its interest rate swap portfolio which was established in late 2018 and early 2019. As of March 31, 2020, subject to further interest rate fluctuation, this action was expected to drive cash savings to the Company of approximately $2.0 million over the next twelve months.

COVID-19 Operating Impacts to Business Objectives and Strategy

Our business model continues to operate well, and we are leveraging traction from the success of the Go Forward Plan initiatives to manage impacts from COVID-19. Based on currently available information, we have created a detailed plan to ensure we successfully weather the pandemic, while also improving and strengthening our business model to best address the ever-changing market conditions. This includes actively managing headcount, continued focus on used retail sales, leveraging our Business Development Centre ("BDC") to drive parts, service, collision repair ("PS&CR"), and ensuring pay plan programs align with changing market conditions to drive greater consistency across platforms and better alignment with operating targets.

Management is actively assessing what the "new normal" will be. Despite the market beginning to re-open in varying stages across Canada and U.S., we are aware that consumer uncertainty in our markets will likely create a lag in the anticipated recovery. We will continue to respond according to market conditions as they evolve.

The Company intends to emerge from this unprecedented event as a stronger and more efficient operating unit.

First Quarter Financial Information
The following table summarizes the Company's performance for the quarter:

Three Months Ended March 31

Consolidated Operational Data



% Change





Gross profit




Gross profit %




Operating expenses




Operating (loss) profit




Net (loss) for the period




Basic net (loss) per share attributable to AutoCanada shareholders




Adjusted EBITDA 1




New retail vehicles sold (units)




New fleet vehicles sold (units)




Total new vehicles sold (units)




Used retail vehicles sold (units)




Total vehicles sold




Same store new retail vehicles sold (units)




Same store new fleet vehicles sold (units)




Same store used retail vehicles sold (units)




Same store total vehicles sold




Same store revenue




Same store gross profit




Same store gross profit %




See the Company's Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 for complete footnote disclosures.

The following table shows the segmented operating results for the Company for the three month periods ended March 31, 2020 and March 31, 2019.

Three Months Ended
March 31, 2020

Three Months Ended
March 31, 2019







New vehicles







Used vehicles







Parts, service and collision repair







Finance, insurance and other







Total revenue







New vehicles







Used vehicles







Parts, service and collision repair







Finance, insurance and other







Total gross profit







Employee costs







Administrative costs 2







Facility lease and storage costs 2






Depreciation of property and equipment







Depreciation of right-of-use assets 2, 3







Total operating expenses 2, 3







Operating profit (loss) before other income 2, 3







Operating data

New retail vehicles sold 1, 4







New fleet vehicles sold 1






Total new vehicles sold 1, 4







Used retail vehicles sold 1, 4







Total vehicles sold 1, 4







# of service and collision repair orders completed 1







# of dealerships at period end







# of service bays at period end







See the Company's Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 for complete footnote disclosures.

MD&A and Financial Statements

Information included in this press release is a summary of results. It should be read in conjunction with AutoCanada's Consolidated Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, which can be found on the Company's website at or on

Non-GAAP Measures

This press release contains certain financial measures that do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by Canadian GAAP.  Therefore, these financial measures may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers.  Investors are cautioned these measures should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings (loss) or to cash provided by (used in) operating, investing, and financing activities determined in accordance with Canadian GAAP, as indicators of our performance.  We provide these measures to assist investors in determining our ability to generate earnings and cash provided by (used in) operating activities and to provide additional information on how these cash resources are used. The following "Non-GAAP Measures" are defined in the annual MD&A: Adjusted EBITDA; Free Cash Flow; Average Capital Employed; Return on Capital Employed; Net Indebtedness and Lease Adjusted Leverage Ratio.

Conference Call

A conference call to discuss the results for the three months ended March 31, 2020 will be held on June 4, 2020 at 9:00am Mountain (11:00am Eastern). To participate in the conference call, please dial 1.888.231.8191 approximately 10 minutes prior to the call.

AutoCanada's presentation that will be discussed on the conference call is available at the Company's website at

This conference call will also be webcast live over the internet and can be accessed by all interested parties at the following URL:

About AutoCanada

AutoCanada is a leading North American multi-location automobile dealership group currently operating 63 franchised dealerships, comprised of 26 brands, in eight provinces in Canada as well as a group in Illinois, USA. AutoCanada currently sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, Audi, Volkswagen, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, BMW, MINI, Volvo, Toyota, Lincoln, and Honda branded vehicles. In 2019, our dealerships sold approximately 71,000 vehicles and processed approximately 900,000 service and collision repair orders in our 1,047 service bays generating revenue in excess of $3 billion.

Additional information about AutoCanada Inc. is available at and the Company's website at

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release  are forward-looking statements and information (collectively "forward-looking statements", including "with respect to", "among other things", "future performance", "expense reductions" and the "Go Forward Plan"), within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. We hereby provide cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as "will likely result", "are expected to", "will continue", "is anticipated", "projection", "vision", "goals", "objective", "target", "schedules", "outlook", "anticipate", "expect", "estimate", "could", "should", "plan", "seek", "may", "intend", "likely", "will", "believe", "shall" and similar expressions) are not historical facts and are forward-looking and may involve estimates and assumptions and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict.

Accordingly, these factors could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, any such forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the factors discussed throughout this press release.

The Company's Annual Information Form and other documents filed with securities regulatory authorities (accessible through the SEDAR website at describe the risks, material assumptions and other factors that could influence actual results and which are incorporated herein by reference.

Further, any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and, except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for Management to predict all of such factors and to assess in advance the impact of each such factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.

Additional Information

Additional information about AutoCanada is available at the Company's website at and

SOURCE AutoCanada Inc.

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