Monday, August 24, 2009

Used car imports slump 40% in Jan-July

Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) - Czech used car imports slumped by 40 percent year-on-year to 85,551 units in January-July this year, according to data from the Car Importers Association (SDA).

The top-selling make among imported second-hand passenger cars was Ford, followed by Skoda and Volkswagen.

Experts said the drop in interest in imported used cars was due to the weakening of the crown to the euro this year, the introduction of a registration fee for cars which do not comply with the Euro3 emissions regulation and a fall in the prices of new cars.

Sales of new passenger cars and light utility vehicles fell by 13 percent to 107,287 units in January-July. The decrease was due to lack of demand from companies, while demand from households, which are the main buyers of second-hand imported cars, increased.

Almost 42 percent of imported used cars were five to 10 years old, and more than one-fifth of the vehicles were older. Last year, cars older than 10 years accounted for 28 percent of imports.

Another reason for less interest in imported second-hand cars could be the saturation of the Czech market and low prices in second-hand car marts which dropped by up to one-third on the year in the first half of 2009.

"I think there can be certain pressure on a slight growth in the prices of second-hand cars owing to slightly increasing prices of new cars and lack of quality almost new used cars," Milan Smutny, spokesman of second-hand cars dealer AAA Auto, said.

"But it will be decided by the market and also the development of the economy, above all the problem of unemployment," Smutny said

Czechs have imported 12,669 second-hand Fords, 11,414 Skodas and 9,826 Volkswagens to the Czech Republic this year. Czech used car imports also included 114 Porsches, 18 Ferraris, seven Maseratis and two Rolls-Royces.

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