Egypt: Car sales in the fast lane
Egyptians bought 43 per cent more cars in January 2013 compared to the same month of 2012; producers and distributors remain cautious
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Egyptian automobile sales rose by 43 per cent to 17,463 vehicles in January 2013, the latest report from the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC) shows.
Passenger car sales, the main component of the market, increased by 39 per cent to exceed 12,000 vehicles in a month.
However, many producers and distributors are worried about the coming period and the whole year as January sales were affected, according to them, by the Egyptian currency devaluation.
Mena Sadek, director of corporate financial investment at Ghabbour Auto, adds that January 2012 car sales against which this year is being measured were low because of violent political events that seriously affected consumer appetites at the time.
The rise of the dollar by more than 10 per cent since December resulted in an increase of car prices on the local market. According to distributors, the increase varied between LE5000 (around $750) and LE60,000 for some luxury cars.
The sales hike achieved during the first month of the year is not leaving market actors optimist about the year, however.
“The price hike combined with political and macroeconomic blurriness can be very discouraging for consumers," says Effat Abdel-Atty, head of the cars division in Cairo Chambers of Commerce.
Many hope the summer will give a boost to the industry, but say they are unable to make clear provisions political turmoil continues and is unpredictable.
“The best time for automobile sales since the January 25 Revolution was just after the presidential elections, but the blurriness of the government's political and economic plan, and the eruption of more violence, [drove the market down],” said Mohamed Gamal, branch director of Al-Kersh Auto.