Bulgaria Autos Report Q2 2015
We forecast for the slowdown in vehicle sales growth seen in 2014 to intensify in 2015 and have reviseddown our passenger car sales forecast for the year to growth of just 1.1% to 20,583 units, down from 3.8%previously. This weak performance will come as shrinking access to credit, a worsening of consumerconfidence, and a poor macroeconomic backdrop all drag on consumer spending on cars over 2015.
Part of the longer term problem for the new vehicle market in Bulgaria is the practice of hanging on to oldervehicles, a practice which we believe will intensify due to lower oil prices. According to a report publishedin June 2014, data from the Bulgarian traffic police show that 39% of all registered vehicles are more than20 years old. We believe this trend will continue as fuel costs fall alongside falling oil prices. Falling fuelprices will make replacing older, less fuel efficient vehicles with more fuel efficient new vehicles a muchless attractive option than simply keeping older vehicles. Owing to our Country Risk team's worseningmacroeconomic outlook for Bulgaria, we are revising down our LCV forecast for 2015. We now forecastsales to drop 0.5% over 2015, down from a forecasted 5% gain, previously. As tightening credit conditionsand weak consumer confidence weigh on spending, our country risk forecast real GDP growth to grow by adisappointing 0.8%. All this considered, we highlight that the heavy truck segment looks set to performmarginally better than LCVs. Owing to the strong correlation between heavy truck demand and constructionactivity, we believe heavy truck sales will expand 3.0% in 2015 alongside 1.7% real growth in theconstruction sector.
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