Figures released by the Association of Automobile Importers in Lebanon (AIA) indicate that 22,004 new passenger cars were sold in the first seven months of 2014, constituting an increase of 7.2% from 20,521 cars sold in the same period last year, Byblos Bank ‘Lebanon This Week’ reported.
Korean cars accounted for 43.1% of total sales, followed by Japanese cars with a 33% share, European automobiles with 17.8%, American vehicles with 4.6%, and Chinese cars with 1.5%.
The number of Japanese cars sold rose by 38.1% year-on-year, constituting the highest rise in new car sales; while the number of new Chinese cars sold declined by 19% from the same period last year, followed by American vehicles with a 12.8% fall, European automobiles with a 4.1% decrease and Korean cars with a 1.3% drop in sales.
Kia is the leading brand in the Lebanese market with 5,177 cars sold in the first seven months of 2014, followed by Hyundai with 4,310, Nissan with 2,913 cars sold, Toyota (2,555), Renault (769), Mitsubishi (627) and Chevrolet (511).
In parallel, 1,333 new commercial vehicles were sold in the first seven months of 2014, constituting a drop of 3.5% from 1,381 vehicles sold in the same period of last year and a decrease of 3.3% from 1,379 vehicles sold in the first seven months of 2012.
The number of new vehicles sold by the country's top five distributors reached 17,244 in the first seven months of 2014 and accounted for 74% of new vehicles sold. NATCO sal sold 5,177 vehicles in the covered period, equivalent to 22.2% of the total, followed by Century Motor Co. sal with 4,409 (18.9%), Rasamny Younis Motor Co. sal with 3,180 (13.6%), Boustany United Machineries sal with 2,796 (12%), and Bassoul Heneine sal with 1,682 (7.2%).
The AIA indicated that the combined number of registered new and imported used cars stagnated in the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013, while it decreased by 8.2% from the first seven months of 2012. It said that the luxury car segment accounted for only 3.5% of total new registered cars. It reiterated that about 90% of new cars sold were small automobiles that cost on average about $11,000 each.