The economic crisis has radically altered the business map of the Greek car market. After 4,300 companies filed for bankruptcy, many importer companies changed their owners, as happened with Subaru Motors Hellas. Some others have been on the brink of survival for months and instead of paying salaries to their employees, they give them used cars. In addition the official distribution network of importers is shrinking and the last company in this category is "Lainopoulos JSC", which is no longer the official representative of the German company Mercedes-Benz. Of course, if the market situation continues to be out of control, analysts believe that an unprecedented domino effect will be caused.
Meanwhile, in April new car sales reported a decline of 56.8 percent compared with the same month last year, generating more panic among importers and dealers, who are responding to the crisis with drastic cuts and with very large promotions, which sometimes bring them to third place in sales, as happened with Citroen.
In particular, in April 2012, only 4,407 new cars were sold, compared with 10,191 new cars sold during the same month in 2011, of which nearly 2,000 were sold to companies. At the top of the list is Opel with 529 cars sold, followed by Toyota - with 396, Citroen - with 383, Volswagen - with 348 and Ford with 290 cars.
On a quarterly basis the market decreased by 39.1 percent since 21,586 vehicles were sold against 35,458 vehicles sold during the same period in 2011.
In an interview, Evripidis Konstantinidis, Board member of the Union of traders and importers of cars in Greece, highlights the following: "The decline in sales of new cars is not yet over, since during the summer months, consumers draw back even more from car shows . So if the new government, which will be known after the election on May 6, does not immediately change something by then, we will be facing a new round of businesses bankruptcies, layoffs and contraction of the industry, with unpredictable consequences for government funds and also for society. Moreover, an unbelievable domino effect will follow on the market since solid companies in the industry will close their doors and they will drag many financial lending institutions with them.”
Beyond the distribution network "Lainopoulos JSC"
After 22 years of cooperation with Mercedes-Benz "Lainopoulos JSC" is no longer an official distributor of Mercedes and Smart cars, and it remains only the authorized service of the German company. According to sources, "Lainopoulos JSC" has a separate contract for servicing the cars, while distribution agreements have expired and have not been renewed by "Mercedes-Benz Hellas" within the reorganization framework of the network in Greece. Therefore "Lainopoulos JSC" remains the official representative for the German car service, while it is currently the importer of Unimog in Greece, and "Mercedes-Benz Hellas".
Of course, market analysts believe that this move represents a serious blow to "Lainopoulos JSC", because in order for it to continue to sell new cars for the German company it will need to purchase them from another authorized dealer, or buy and import them from another European Member State, which is also associated with a lot of cash and risk.
In April scrapping cars maintained a satisfactory pace and nearly 1,930 cars and 154 trucks were delivered to the recycling centres. Within the quarter, however, levels of scrapping cars fell by 19.2 percent because within the first four months of 2012, 10,075 cars were scrapped compared to 12,475 cars during the same period in 2011.
"Porsche": 800 percent sales growth in April!
One of the most striking findings in the analysis of sales for the month of April in Greece is associated with the company Porsche, which recorded sales growth of 800 percent. In particular, in April 2012 18 models of the luxury car were sold, compared to only 2 cars in April 2011. Another company - Lancia - reported impressive sales growth of 400 percent, since in April 2012 it sold 95 cars compared to 19 during the same month of last year.
Comparative car sales - April 2012/2011
Company - April 2012 - April 2011 – Percentage difference
OPEL 529 1.068 -50,5%
TOYOTA 396 943 -58,0%
CITROEN 383 406 -5,7%
VOLKSWAGEN 348 934 -62,7%
FORD 290 763 -62,0%