Lebanon Businessnews News

New car sales up
Korean brands still the top sellers
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The number of new cars sold in 2012 totaled 35,477 units, representing a nine percent year-on-year growth, the Association of Automobile Importers (AIA) said.

Sales of Korean cars rose by 17 percent to almost 16,000 cars in 2012. Sales of European cars saw a five percent annual growth to around 7,200. Chinese cars also saw a rise in sales in 2012 to 466 units, mainly attributed to the re-introduction of the new brand Geely in the first quarter of the year.

According to the AIA, the growth in the number of units sold does not reflect growth in the sector's turnover sector. “The turnover for importers of new cars was down by between 20 and 30 percent in 2012, compared to the previous year,” said Samir Homsi, head of the AIA and chairman of Impex, exclusive dealer for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Hummer, and Isuzu. Sales of smaller vehicles, priced as low as $9,000, accounted for most of the increase in sales, he said.

In 2012, the top selling brand was Kia (9,484 units), followed by Hyundai (6,507 units), Nissan (5,811 units), Toyota (1,860 units), and Chevrolet (1,490 units). Korean cars continued to hold the biggest market share, around 45 percent, followed by Japanese cars with 27 percent, and European cars with 20 percent. American-made cars grabbed around six percent of the market, while Chinese cars held a shy 1.3 percent of the year's sales.

According to Homsi, demand for smaller cars is on the rise due to two main reasons: “The global trend for convenient fuel-savers, and the tight economic situation which holds Lebanese consumers from investing in expensive cars.”

Overall car sales, including used cars, dropped by four percent on an annual basis to 71,000 units in 2012. Sales have been dropping since 2010 when a total of 92,000 units had been sold.
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Jan 13, 2013
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