Israelis bought 90,607 new cars during the period between January and March of this year, 13 percent more than the 80,000 they bought in the first three months of last year. Hyundai continued to be the most popular nameplate among Israelis; 13,138 of that brand were bought during the period.
In second place was Kia, with Israelis buying 10,673 models made by that company in the first three months of the year. In third place was Toyota, with 10,017 deliveries of new vehicles. Following those best-sellers were models by Skoda and Mazda. Ferrrari dealers said that 17 of their super-fancy sports cars were sold during the period; last year, that figure was six.
Experts attributed the buying spree to the continued low interest rates in Israeli banks, which has led many companies to offer special financing deals, such as no-interest loans and special leasing deals.
Prices for new cars will go down even more, if the Knesset has its way. Earlier this week, the Knesset Economics Committee has authorized for its second and third reading a law that would increase competition in the car business, by increasing the number of importers of vehicles and parts. According to Committee chairman MK Eitan Cabel, “We have gone much further in this matter than previous Knessets and even further than what the Transport Ministry sought. Our main objective is to increase competition and lower costs for consumers.”
Currently, most car manufacturers have a single importer who sets the prices of vehicles and parts. The new law will allow any importer to apply for a license to import vehicles directly from the manufacturer, as well as ease restrictions on direct import of vehicles for consumers who purchase cars abroad.