ECONOMY

Car sales drop sharply in April

New car sales in April plummeted by some 50 percent year-on-year despite the government’s recently introduced measures aimed at boosting sagging sales in the sector, data showed yesterday. The National Statistics Service (NSS), Greece’s official data office, said the number of new cars registered in April reached 15,345 versus 30,317 in the same month a year earlier, representing an annual drop of 49.3 percent. The total number of new and used cars registered nationwide fell to 18,694 in April from 35,709 vehicles last year, NSS data also showed. In early April, the Economy and Finance Ministry announced a 50 percent cut in the registration tax paid on new cars and motorcycles in a bid to encourage motorists to trade in their old car for a new one. The cut, applicable for a four-month period, enables motorists with an eye on the higher end of the market to save up to 4,400 euros on their purchase. Industry sources said the impact from the tax cuts is likely to appear in May figures as car importers did not manage to complete sales procedures in April due to the heavy workload. «Data from the first 15 days of May will show a large jump in car sales,» said Giorgos Vassilakis, president of the Association of Greek Car Importers (SEAA). «The growth in sales is the same across the board and not just for cars with larger engines,» he told Kathimerini. Experts said a similiar measure had been recently implemented in Turkey with success. NSS data for April also showed that Toyota topped the new-car sales list, selling 1,703 vehicles in the month, and holding onto 11.96 percent of total sales. Toyota was followed by Volkswagen and Opel, which accounted for 10.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively of new car sales booked in April. For the four-month period from January to April, a total of 63,431 new cars were sold, according to NSS data.