Car Sales in Israel Hit Record High in 2015

Eilat's port is the main entrance for ships carrying loads of brand new cars to be sold in Israel. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90
Eilat’s port is the main gateway for ships carrying new cars to be sold in Israel. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Israelis bought over a quarter million cars in 2015, according to data released by importers and dealers. That is an unprecedented annual sales record. More than 256,000 vehicles were sold in Israel in 2015, compared to 239,771 in 2014. A report with the final numbers will be released this week, officials said.

The best selling brand in Israel for 2015, according to initial data, is Kia, with over 34,000 vehicles sold – the first time the Korean carmaker achieved that status. Second place goes to fellow Korean carmaker Hyundai, followed by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota.

This past year’s sales were boosted by a new program in which importers who are not affiliated with official car dealers were allowed to bring over new vehicles. Such vehicles accounted for 10% of sales in 2015. Vehicles sold under the program retail for several thousand shekels less than the official prices charged by dealers associated with the direct importers.

According to industry officials, January 2016 is also likely to set a record for car purchases. Approximately 30,000 vehicles were ordered by Israelis in December for delivery in January, a figure that would set a record for the most cars ever sold in a calendar month.