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Sunday, 31 July 2022

Auto sales just keep dropping

Auto sales fell by more than a third in June as import restrictions and economic headwinds hit the industry. Customers bought around 12.3k passenger cars last month, down 35% from June 2021, according to figures provided by the Automotive Information Council (AMIC) last week. This is the fourth consecutive month that car sales have fallen on an annual basis, though June’s figures were a slight improvement from the 11.8k cars sold the previous month.

Bus and truck sales also fell, but at a slower pace: Bus sales dropped 28.3% during the month to 1.6k units, while truck sales fell 16.9% to 4.1k units.

What’s eating the auto industry? A confluence of factors — including import restrictions, surging inflation, and the slide of the EGP against the greenback — has hit local car dealers this year. New rules requiring importers to use letters of credit (L/Cs) were imposed earlier this year and have made it much harder for distributors to import vehicles. Several global car manufacturers have suspended sales to Egypt after local dealers were unable to pay.

REMEMBER- Distributors now have to compensate consumers for being unable to deliver vehicles, per a decision by the Consumer Protection Agency in May. Buyers who made a down payment on a vehicle prior to 12 April are entitled to a refund from the dealer plus 18% interest if their car doesn’t materialize. Buyers also have the option of not taking a refund and instead working out a better arrangement with the distributor.

Looking to side-step that 18% interest (and any contractual requirement to deliver a vehicle at an ‘old’ price), some car dealers have aggressively pushed consumers who booked before 12 April to accept refunds — with several later reaching out to those clients weeks later soliciting new down payments at higher prices.

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