A look at the performance of the car market in 2016 and its evolution in 2017.
The sales of cars on the Romanian market in 2016 went up by 17.8 % as against the previous year, to 142 thousand sales. However, the forecast for 2017 points to the fact that the car market will plummet, since the environment tax was scrapped and no measure to replace it was taken, according to the Association of Car Makers and Importers. Of the 142 items sold, 115 were cars. Leader in the current new cars sales’ rankings is Dacia, followed by Volkswagen, Skoda, Renault and Ford. According to the fuel type, the percentage of automobiles equipped with Diesel engines went down by 49.3% of the entire market share as compared to 2015, when Diesel car sales stood at 53.%%.
As for electrical and hybrid automobiles, the volume of sales doubled in 2016, when 1,183 items were sold, as compared to 496 such items, in 2015. As for electrical cars, sales went up by 237% as compared to 2016, from 46 to 167 units. However, the sale of new cars was by far outnumbered by the sale of imported second-hand cars, that reached nearly 300,000 items. With details on that, here is the president of the Association of Car Makers and Importers Ernest Popovici.
“Imports of second-hand cars in 2016 unfortunately exceeded the sales of new cars. The average ratio of registration of new cars against second-hand ones is 1:3. One possible explanation is tax evasion in the trade of imported second-hand vehicles at individual level or through companies that were purposefully founded for such operations, as well as the change of the automatic mileage recorder."
Officials with the aforementioned association said the scrapping of the environment tax for cars, one of the 102 taxes scrapped as of February 1st, will contribute to the more significant increase of the number of imported second-hand automobiles, at once with the decrease in the sales of new automobiles. The aforementioned officials support the implementation of a cumulative system differentially applied for new and second-hand cars. With details on that, here is Cristian Milea, a member on the board of the Association of Car Makers and Importers:
“This means a fee will be levied upon car registration and also a tax, to better explain the procedure. The move is meant to make consumers focus on newer cars with lower mileage. This is the formula you’ll encounter in almost all European states, where a country’s national car fleet is regulated by decent indicators”.
The fee to be paid for cars upon first registration was introduced for the first time in Romania on January 1, 2007, immediately after Romania joined the EU. At the time, the first registration fee was calculated according to three variables: the age of the car, the type of catalyst and the car’s cylinder capacity. On February 19, 2009 the car pollution fee was changed and the Government lowered its value by one third. Thus, as of January 1, 2012 the fee became compulsory both upon second registration of cars registered in Romania before January 1st 2007 and upon registration of cars brought from the West. On January 30, 2012 the fee was suspended until December 31, 2012 and the persons who had already paid the fee were to have the money returned. As of March 15, 2013 an environment tax was enforced for cars, and as of that moment, the car fee was calculated exclusively based on carbon dioxide emissions that were mentioned in the vehicle registration certificate.
In another development, the vice-president of the Car Makers and Importers Association, Brent Valmar said that the sale of new cars would not be affected if the car fleet renewal program, the so-called Car Scrapping Program, was eliminated. According to him, in the beginning the project proved efficient, given the crisis experienced by the market. Brent Valmar:
“The experience of last year showed us that, when the Car Scrapping Program did not exist, car sales to individuals increased thanks to various actions, activities and special support which distributors granted for the sale of cars to natural persons. In other words, with or without the Car Scrapping Program, we believe that the total volume of the new cars market this year will be the same”.
As regards the national vehicle output, in 2016, 359 thousand vehicles were produced, less by 7.2% than in 2015. Out of this total number, Dacia Groupe Renault produced 320 thousand cars while Ford (in southern Craiova) produced 39 thousand cars. In terms of exports, 326 thousand cars were exported in 2016, less by 8.2% as against 2015. The most exported model was Dacia Duster, followed by Dacia Sandero and Ford B-Max. All in all, 90.7% of the national output for 2016 was exported as compared to 91.7% in 2015. (Translated by E. Nasta and L. Simion)