Auto market accelerates towards 400,000 vehicles

New car sales could rise this year high above the initial expectations of the Association of Automobile Importers and Producers (APIA) and, as such, might attain the threshold of 400,000 vehicles after, in 2007, the Romanian market exceeded the number of 300,000 new car sales.
According to the publication, the new vehicle sales increase will range in 2008 between 20 percent and 27 percent, whereas APIA vice-president Brent Valmar had declared at this yearstart that "at APIA level an increase of 5 percent is foreseeable and the market might even stagnate or record a decline".
Given the answers of 18 importers, a study conducted by Vardie Consult, the authors also show that there is an under-dimensioning of the auto service network and because of that people must wait up to a few weeks or even months when they need to repair their car. Some importers (25 percent) appreciated that the main cause is the "explosion of the auto market, which left behind service capacities", another fourth placed in the first spot the "lack of qualified personnel" but the highest number of respondents – 35 percent – blamed the "labour force migration".
On the other hand, 15.4 percent considers that, due to the pollution tax, the new automobile market is to be reduced by 20 percent, the others saying that the influence will be minimal.
For this year, according to importers, a surge of 50 percent – 60 percent is expected in SUVs sales and even 60 percent – 70 percent in MPV cars.
As for the evolution of the auto market, a conservative scenario shows an overall jump of 30 percent in the sales of imported cars, up to 266,000 units and an advance by 2.7 percent, up to 113,874, of local vehicle sales.
The other scenario, the optimistic one, estimates a surge by 39 percent in the number of imported cars and 5 percent for the locally made ones.

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