So, you want to buy a new car — do you have any options at all right now? Here’s the state of play as of February 2023.
Want to buy a brand new car? Only a few 2023 models are currently available at car dealerships around the country. If you’re picky and have a specific model in mind, odds are very good you’ll be waiting six or more months before you can get behind the wheel — or pay an exorbitant amount to get it. We’ve spoken to industry experts, and they’ve given us a list of locally-assembled 2023 models you can get your hands on right away. Not interested in any of the models available? They’ve also let us know what you have to do — or how long you’ll have to wait — to get the car you actually want, particularly if it’s imported as a “completely built up” vehicle.
Refresher: Egypt's automotive market has been going through a rough time for the past year, as import restrictions made it almost impossible for distributors to bring in fully built-up vehicles. FX shortages made the import of even kits for local assembly and spare parts challenging, forcing a number of global car manufacturers to suspend sales to Egypt — and prompting local assemblers to down tools. The import restrictions have led auto sales to fall more than a third in 2022, dropping from 290k vehicles in 2021 to 184k, according to figures released by the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC).
The import restrictions were officially getting scrapped at the end of last year, but it’s going to take plenty of time before importers start clearing goods out of ports, let alone place new orders.
As things stand, thousands of fully assembled cars are currently still stuck in ports, senior automotive industry figures told us. Imported vehicles are considered luxury goods and so are not on the list of priority commodities being released at ports, they explained.
This means that a vast majority of the 2023 models available are locally assembled models, which rely on spare parts that are more easily released from ports than cars that are completely built up, also known as completely built units (CBUs), several industry leaders told us. That also probably means you’ll be seeing locally assembled vehicles available sooner than you will fully imported vehicles, given that CKD kits appear to have a higher priority in the queue for FX.
Right now, some 70% of the cars available in the market are locally assembled models, Abou Ghaly Group Chief Operating Officer Tamer Kotb said. The rest are a (small) mixed bag of 2022 models and very few completely built 2023 models that distributors are able to release from ports by coughing up USD, Kotb said.
And even the locally assembled cars that are available are limited: The units available are in the hundreds, if not tens, at showrooms, Kotb said, adding that kits are coming through, but nowhere near fast enough to keep pace with demand.
JUST ABOUT THE ONLY LOCALLY ASSEMBLED 2023 CARS AVAILABLE ARE … (drumroll) …
- GLS — EGP 4.46 mn
- GLE — EGP 3.4 mn
- Grand Cherokee — EGP 2.45 mn
- Fortuner — EGP 1.7-2 mn
- Accent RB — EGP 410-455k, (depending on the trim)
- Bayon — EGP 635-760k
- Elantra — EGP 550-585k
- Arrizo — EGP 300-358k
- Tiggo 3 — EGP 425k
- Tiggo 7 — EGP 500-545k
- Sunny — EGP 388.4-454k
- Sentra — EGP 456k-581k
- Mokka — EGP 760k-800k
- Corsa — EGP 600-640k
- Crossland — EGP 630-670k
Take these prices with a grain of salt: These are official listed prices released by agents of the car brands, but they may not reflect the final price tags at independent dealerships, which add their own markups, which can be as low as 5-10% and as high as 20-25%, El Rawas Motors CEO Karim El Rawas said.
How soon can you get the cars? Most car dealerships and distributors are selling what they have in stock right away, El Rawas and Kotb said. This is due to the lack of clarity around when imports will ease and when they could receive spare parts stuck in backlogs, Kotb said. Others, including BMW, which recently restarted assembling cars in Egypt after Global Auto got the exclusive rights from BMW Group, are taking bookings six months ahead, two industry insiders told us.
Want a specific (fully assembled) car that’s not available — and fast? Some dealerships allow you to pay in USD in return for completely built cars that are stuck in ports in free zones, several industry reps told us. You will also need to pay the customs fee for your car, the sources said. Abou Ghaly Motors offers this option for Geely’s electric Geometry C model, which will only be sold to customers who can pay in USD through its freezone company in Alexandria, Kotb told us. Car dealership MIG also facilitates imports via freezones, and promises delivery within 60 days, according to a customer service rep we spoke to.
When can we expect the car shortage to ease? The jury’s out. A few industry insiders, including El Rawas and Montasser Zaytoon, chairperson of Zaytoun Auto Mall and member of the FEDCOC’s auto division, expect the car import backlog to ease up by mid-2023, by which time they think the FX situation might have improved. El Kotb, however, said it is premature to forecast when the shortage will ease.
Until then, what are people buying the most? Mercedes, apparently. Mercedes cars were the most-registered of all car brands in January, Al Mal reports, citing data from the Engineering Company for Integrated Projects (ECIP). Meanwhile, El Rawas Motors’ most sold car brand in January was Audi, El Rawas said, adding that more high-end cars are often seen as an “asset” among buyers, especially with prices expected to rise further as the EGP continues to weaken over the coming months.
Background: Car prices rose between 20-35% m-o-m in January following the 4 Jan devaluation of the EGP, according to car price lists from agents seen by Enterprise.