Used car imports down 18% in Q1

Automotive

Imports of used cars fell by 18% in Hungary in the first quarter of 2021 in a year-on-year comparison, according to a report by DataHouse.

Three brands accounted for more than 30% of the imports: Volkswagen (10.6%), Opel (10%), and Ford (9.7%).
 
"The outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic has put an end to a long, prosperous period in the imported used car market," explains Bertalan Halász, CEO of JóAutók.hu. "While up until the outbreak of the epidemic, nearly 40,000 used cars were flooding into the country every quarter, since then average quarterly sales have been around 20% lower. The biggest drop occurred immediately after the outbreak, during the period of strict closures, when the second-quarter figure fell to around 27,000. The subsequent freer summer pulled sales back to almost 34,000. Since the second wave of the outbreak, quarterly imports have been between 31,000 and 32,000."
 
Although according to a survey conducted by JóAutók.hu in February, almost two-thirds of market players expect the car market to return to normal by the summer at the latest, it seems almost certain that dealers could be saying goodbye to the previous quarterly levels of 40,000 units for years to come. This year's tightening of the rules on registration regarding vehicles from abroad will make it more difficult to place older used cars, which make up the bulk of imports, on the market. In addition, the euro's persistent stagnation above 360 forints will make used imports noticeably more expensive, which could also discourage many from buying these vehicles.
 
According to JóAutók.hu's forecast, if the economy and social life gradually open up in the coming months, one can expect 130,000-135,000 used car imports this year, meaning that imports could exceed the 130,000 registered in 2020 by a few percents in the best-case scenario.
 
While used car imports totaled only 30,971 units in the first three months of this year, new car sales in the same period totaled 32,194, down just 1.5% from 32,668 a year earlier.

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