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Sales of new cars drops

The drop has been 13 percent.

Spanish version

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The country's economic slowdown has impacted car sales. The country's economic slowdown has impacted car sales.
The country's economic slowdown has impacted car sales. Archivo

The sale of new cars will register its first contraction in this decade in 2017.

The Association of Automobile Dealers of Panama (ADAP) predicts that this year sales will drop 10 percent compared to 2016, when 66,700 new vehicles were sold. The drop is expected to be some 6,600 vehicles.

Patricia Vukelja, executive director of ADAP, believes that this is due to more conservative consumption patterns, because of a reduction in the availability of consumer income. 

Market performance figures in the first four months of the year confirm the analysis. While in the period of January-April 2016 some 21,729 cars were sold, in the same period of 2017 the figure dropped to 18,886. That is a 13 percent drop, or 2,843 cars less. 

"People are taking more time to change cars," said Vukelja.

To deal with this new scenario, companies are investing in improving their offers of products and services and offering more incentives.

According to economist Daniel Oblitas Tejada, the figures compiled by the Comptroller General are a result of families having to establish priorities. 

"They are prioritizing the most basic expenses, and the car, although it may be a necessity, is coming after expenses such as food, housing and education," warns Tejada. 

He adds that this change in consumption habit is the immediate result of the country's economic slowdown, whose gross domestic product will expand by 5.9 percent in 2017, after having registered an annual average growth of 7.2 percent between 2001 and 2013. 

"As the economy grows at rates lower than those recorded in previous years, it creates a more pessimistic environment about the future, due to greater uncertainty, which affects consumption," the economist said.

Se frena la venta de autos Expandir Imagen
Se frena la venta de autos

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