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Car sales revive

SLOVAKIA is sometimes dubbed the New Detroit. This is true when it is considered that 575,776 cars rolled off the production lines of the three large carmakers in Slovakia last year, though that was far below the three plant’s maximum capacities. For all of 2008, Slovaks purchased just 96,897 passenger cars and small commercial vehicles – it would have taken Slovakia’s carmakers less than two months to satisfy the domestic demand if all these purchased cars had been made in Slovakia.

SLOVAKIA is sometimes dubbed the New Detroit. This is true when it is considered that 575,776 cars rolled off the production lines of the three large carmakers in Slovakia last year, though that was far below the three plant’s maximum capacities. For all of 2008, Slovaks purchased just 96,897 passenger cars and small commercial vehicles – it would have taken Slovakia’s carmakers less than two months to satisfy the domestic demand if all these purchased cars had been made in Slovakia.

After the robust growth of 16.39 percent in sales of passengers and small commercial vehicles in 2008, the numbers decreased steeply during the first two months of 2009, according to data from the Slovak Automotive Industry Association.

After a December 2008 year-on-year increase of 13.05 percent, sales in January 2009 fell by 41.83 percent. The next month witnessed a year-on-year drop of 39.07 percent.

The government’s car-scrapping bonus, introduced in early March, seems to have revived car sales somewhat. In March, car sales registered a moderate increase, up 2.54 percent compared to the same period in 2008. Nevertheless, the car market closed the first quarter of 2009 with a y-o-y drop in sales of 25.58 percent.

Since Slovaks delivered more than 44,000 old cars to scrapping yards to qualify for the government subsidised bonus for purchase of a new car, forthcoming car sales are not expected to dip back to the low levels of January and February. Qualified persons have until the end of 2009 to purchase their new car under the programme.

Škoda remains the most popular car brand in Slovakia. Its market share was 16.99 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Peugeot moved up to second place with a market share of 8.08 percent and Renault came in third with 8 percent. Volkswagen was the fourth most purchased car (6.76 percent), followed by Citroën (6.31 percent).

For more detailed figures on car sales, please go to www.spectator.sk.

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