Figures released by the Association of Automobile Importers in Lebanon (AIA) indicate that a total of 29,198 new passenger cars were sold in the first 10 months of 2012, constituting an increase of 6.3% from the 27,473 cars sold in the same period last year and a rise of 2.8% from the 28,413 cars sold in the first 10 months of 2010. Korean cars accounted for 45.2% of total sales, followed by Japanese cars with a 26.8% share, European automobiles with 20.4%, American vehicles with 6.4%, and Chinese cars with 1.2%.
Chinese cars posted the highest growth in sales with a 66% rise year-on-year, followed by Korean cars with a 13.6% rise, American cars with a 7.6% increase and European cars with a 2.8% rise. In parallel, the number of Japanese cars sold posted a drop of 3.6% year-on-year. Kia is the leading brand in the Lebanese market with 7,962 cars sold in the first 10 months of 2012, followed by Hyundai with 5,230, Nissan with 4,670 cars sold, Toyota (1,539), Chevrolet (1,288), Renault (1,066), and Volkswagen (624). In parallel, a total of 1,905 new commercial vehicles were sold in the first 10 months of 2012, up 9.3% from the 1,743 vehicles sold in the same period last year, but down 16.1% from the 2,270 vehicles sold in the first 10 months of 2010.
The AIA indicated that more than 90% of cars sold are small automobiles that cost about $11,000 each. It noted that the trend towards buying smaller cars is due to the high prices of gasoline, the lack of proper public transportation, and fierce competition among car dealers. It added that this translates into lower sales figures and, consequently, a decline in the dealers' income.
Lebanon This Week – Byblos Bank Research