Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

ON THE CAR MARKET WE ARE AGAIN THE POOR RELATIVES

Statistical data show that Bulgaria is one of the most dynamically developing market of new cars worldwide. According to the Union of Car Importers in Bulgaria (UCIB), sales in this country doubled within the last five years and are still going up. By November 2004 the firms that are members of UCIB alone sold 20,747 cars. It is quite likely that the total annual sales exceed the record high number of 24,000, having in mind that December is traditionally a month with strong sales and that some distributors, such as the importer of Hyundai - Ind Commerce - are not members of UCIB and their deals have not been includes in the above mentioned statistics. Comparing the present numbers with the modest number of 11,900 new cars, sold in 1999, it becomes clear that importers do deserve bottles of champagne. But good news end here. Even if the growth is 100%, the domestic market of new cars remains deplorable not only in comparison with the West European countries. In Slovenia, for example, the number of sold new cars is three-fold that in Bulgaria, although that country's population is four times less than Bulgaria's If each 312th Bulgarian bought a new car in 2004, the respective figure of Greece is 40, for Hungary - 45, for the Czech republic - 60, for Slovakia - 80, and for Romania 172. The higher sales in Slovakia and Bulgaria, which are most close to us from the point of view of living standards, is mainly explained by the fact that they have their own car industry. More than 75% of domestic market demand in Romania is satisfied by the Dacia plants, owned by Ranault. In addition to the already operating Volkswagen factory, two more enterprises are being built in Slovenia - those of Peugeot and of Kia. When completed they will turn Slovakia into the top producer of cars per capita worldwide. There are also serious structural differences between the Bulgarian car market and those in other East European countries. While the ratio between cars paid in cash and those with deferred payment is almost equal in Hungary, leasing purchase contracts account for almost 80% of new cars and over 90% of new light-duty vehicles. Also, firms and not private persons are the main buyers in Bulgaria. This explains the higher interest towards vehicles with more seats, which purchase is acknowledged as expenditure and the paid VAT is liable to refunding. WHERE ARE WE?State Populations New car sales January 2003 June 2004 Germany 82.50 mil. 3,423,294 1,753,631Greece 11.01 mil. 275,428 178,457Hungary 10.15 mil. 228,215 113,020Czech Rep. 10.27 mil. 168,849 78,616Romania 22.47 mil. 130,068 77,038Croatia 4.32 mil. 82,396 39,286Slovakis 5.44 mil. 67,351 32,311Slovenia 1.98 mil. 66,122 39,621 Bulgaria 7.62 mil. 17,220 9,754TOP SELLING NEW CARS IN BULGARIA(January - November 2004)Peugeot Sofia Frans Auto 3,235Ford Ford Moto Pfohe 1,927Toyota TM Auto 1,870Renault Promobil 1,716Citroen Automotor Corp. 1,645Opel various 1,627Skoda Euratec 1,578Lada Nar 856Hyundai Ind Commerce 730 Suzuki Mikrat 464Chevrolette various 448Mercedes Balkan star 430Data by BANKER and UCIB

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