New car sales in Panama continue to plunge with a drop of 11.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared to 2017 which was the worst year for the industry in five years and could help explain why two major dealerships have been sold to foreign companies.

This year 12,617 units were sold compared to 14,230 in the same period of 2017, according to preliminary official statistics released Wednesday, May 9.

The sale of new cars collapsed by 14.7 percent in 2017, according to official data

Preliminary figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) show that in the first quarter of this year the worst fall, of 21.5 percent, was registered in the segment of regular automobiles – sedans, coupe, and vans- with a total of 4,548 units sold compared to 5,790 in the same period of 2017.

According to INEC data, the last time that sales in the regular car segment grew was in the first quarter of 2015, when it did so by 15.6 percent. The regular cars were the best sellers in the first three months of this year, followed by light SUVs or SUVs with a total of 4,362 units, 8.5 percent less than the 4,766 in the first quarter of 2017.

Sales of buses (-17.8 percent), minivans (-15.3 percent), trucks (-11 percent) and panel cars (-7.1 percent) also fell. ). Only sales of luxury cars increased by 2.7 percent when 576 units were placed on the market; of pickups, 8.3 percent and 1,913 units; and the “other” segment -which includes brands and models without a known distributor- at 55.1 percent and 107 units sold.

Market analysts believe that the generalized drop in sales of new cars has been due to the economic slowdown in Panama, which still remains one of the most dynamic countries in the region with a 5.4 Percent GDP in 2017.

The good news is that the decrease in sales has slowed the unsustainable increase in vehicles on Panama’s already over-clogged streets

Source: Newsroom Panama

Article first appeared at Today Panama, click here to go there

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