By Inaam Eladawy
Car dealers confirmed that automobile sales slowed in the first week of Ramadan, expressing hope that sales will increase after President Morsy’s decision to raise government salaries by 15% goes into effect.
Raafat Masrouga, head of the automobiles division of the Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency (ECPA), noted that the market had slowed in recent days but predicts that sales will increase once the raise goes into effect, noting that sales increased during Ramadan in previous years.
Effat Abdelaty, head of the automobiles division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said that Ramadan in the past saw slower automobile sales, but that the current decrease was sharper than usual.
Hosni Gheriany, a member of the automobiles division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that sales were slow, adding that dealerships tried to offer deals on automobiles but that they were, thus far, unsuccessful in attracting more customers.
He added that not much time remains before the automobile models of 2013 will enter the market, and that many dealerships have already started making pre-sales in the expectation that the market will pick up after Eid al-Fitr.
Hany Mahmoud, Director of Sales at a Renault dealership, said that Ramadan had a negative impact on the automobile market, which has seen increased sales last month. He noted that the market returned to the state of stagnation from which it suffered previously despite previous indications that growth would persist. He added, however, that it is still too early to tell if sales will continue to lag during Ramadan.
176,000 automobiles were sold last year, compared to 248,000 in 2010. Experts forecast a rise in sales during this year, although the continuing instability in the political arena casts doubt on such expectations.
The automobile market saw 75,100 units sold in the first half of the current year, with Chevrolet occupying first place with 19,800 units sold; Hyundai came in second, with 18,300 units sold; followed by Kia, with 7,100; Toyota came in fourth, selling 4,800 units; followed by Renault, at 3,090; and Suzuki, with 2,800.
Esperanza sold 2,700 units, coming in seventh, beating out Mitsubishi, which sold 2,400 units. Skoda sold 1,600 units; followed by Volkswagen, at 1,500 units. Golden Dragon sold 1,300 units; followed by King Long, at 1,200. Other companies combined for a total of 7,900 units sold.