With Greece in its fifth year of depression, unemployment soaring to 23.1% (as of May), and vehicle ownership costs increasing, BMI sees little scope for any rebound in new vehicle sales in the country. A cumulative 41% year-on-year (y-o-y) decrease in new car sales during H112 has prompted us to revise down our forecast for passenger car sales in 2012. We now expect a 40% contraction (from a previous forecast for a 23.8% contraction).
The ongoing economic malaise and weak consumer sentiment has also prompted a change in our longer-term forecasts; we now forecast passenger car sales to decline 64% over the 2011-2016 period.
With our Greece Country Risk team still forecasting a 2.7% y-o-y contraction in real GDP in 2013, we do not expect commercial vehicle sales growth to return to positive territory during 2013. In fact, our core scenario for the segment envisages a continued contraction in annual commercial vehicle sales throughout the forecast period, although the pace of decline is likely to slow down. By 2016, we expect the Greek new commercial vehicles market to stand at 1,540 units - down almost 94% compared with the peak levels seen in 2007.
We believe it is possible for the sector to recover, and vehicle consumption could rise at a higher rate if the government repealed some regulations on the industry. For instance, the road tax was increased from 9% in 2011 to 12% in 2012. Easing taxes and other restrictions would bring down motoring costs and help to spur growth in vehicle demand, although chances of such a change are slim, in our view. Any upside risk to our forecast scenario would therefore be a result of favourable base effects.
A highly complicated regulatory environment, lacklustre retail performance and a lack of domestic auto manufacturing mean that Greece continues to be a significant underperformer in Europe. Placed at the bottom in BMI's Risk/Reward Ratings for the auto industry in Europe, Greece not only suffers from poor scores in the auto market, but also in terms of its country risk score. In view of the scale and number of issues confronting the country, we see little hope for any improvement in its ranking in the region.
|f = forecast. Source: Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, Association of Motor Vehicle Importers Representatives, BMI|
|Total vehicles, units||237,936||155,553||105,482||62,498||46,836||40,084||37,677||36,891|
|Vehicles, units, % chg y-o-y||-18.7||-34.6||-32.2||-40.8||-25.1||-14.4||-6.0||-2.1|
|Passenger cars, units||220,548||142,594||98,232||58,873||44,474||38,193||35,979||35,349|
|Passenger cars, units, % chg y-o-y||-17.5||-35.3||-31.1||-40.1||-24.5||-14.1||-5.8||-1.8|
|Passenger cars, % of total domestic vehicle unit sales||92.7||91.7||93.1||94.2||95.0||95.3||95.5||95.8|
|Commercial vehicles, units||17,388||12,959||7,250||3,625||2,362||1,891||1,698||1,543|
|Commercial vehicles, units, % chg y-o-y||-32.0||-25.5||-44.1||-50.0||-34.8||-20.0||-10.2||-9.1|
|Commercial vehicles, % of total domestic vehicle unit sales||7.3||8.3||6.9||5.8||5.0||4.7||4.5||4.2|
|Motorbikes, units, % chg y-o-y||-46.10||-8.22||-20.00||-16.00||-10.00||-9.00||-9.00||-9.00|