2014 Breaks Car Sale Records in Israel

Israelis have so far this year bought 229,294 vehicles, leaving previous records in the dust.

Moshe Cohen ,

New cars (illustration)
New cars (illustration)
Flash 90

The current year is shaping up to be a record breaking one for Israeli car importers. According to statistics released Tuesday, Israelis have so far this year bought 229,294 vehicles – and that doesn't include December, which has just started.

Already, purchases this year have surpassed the previous full-year record set in 2012, of 226,000 vehicles.

According to industry officials – taking into account the numerous and substantial end-of-year discounts on the 2014 models – importers can expect to have sold 240,000 vehicles for the year by the time December ends.

One reason for this year's very healthy sales, say experts, is the rush of potential car buyers to close deals before additional anti-pollution laws come into effect in January. Those laws will see the prices of nearly all but the small cars rise by as much as 10%, as the government imposes a tax on vehicles that are not emissions-efficient.

The official purchase tax on vehicles with engines up to 1.6 liters in size is 83%, but cars that are relatively “clean” can get a rebate of up to NIS 15,000, making their price to the consumer lower. With the new measures, the list of vehicles that will qualify for that rebate will shrink substantially, and many vehicles will go up in price, even if manufacturers do not raise prices.

Another factor that will increase prices is the recent weakening of the shekel, importers said. Many importers have not yet updated their price lists to reflect the recent 10% plus drop in the value of the shekel versus the dollar, as they are selling off the last of their 2014 vehicles.

Beginning in January, when dealers by law will only be able to sell 2015 vehicles, that shekel weakness – if the dollar remains strong, as it is expected to – will add even more to the nominal shekel price of vehicles.  




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