2016 to Set Records on Car Purchases

Cars brought on cargo ships, imported from abroad, seen parked at the port in the Southern Israeli town of Ashdod, before being transported away for sale. June 23, 2014. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** îëåðéåú áðîì àùãåã éáåà
Cars brought on cargo ships, imported from abroad, seen parked at the Ashdod port, before being transported away for sale. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The numbers are in for the first six months of 2016 – and so far, this year has been the biggest ever for new-car purchases in Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday. A total of 164,284 vehicles were sold between January and June of 2016, the biggest ever number for any six-month period in Israel’s history.

The numbers are only expected to rise in the second half of the year, as dealers begin discounting 2016 models to make way for next year’s cars. At this rate, industry experts say that as many as 350,000 vehicles could be sold this year, compared to 256,000 in 2015 – itself a record year.

Israelis spent a whopping NIS 18 billion ($4.7 billion) on new vehicles of all types in the first six months of the year. Taken over a three-year period, the amount spent on vehicles between 2013 and 2016 is expected to have reached NIS 115 billion by the end of this year – a sum that would constitute 11.5 percent of Israel’s GDP, the CBS said.

The reasons for the phenomenon: A relatively weak dollar, which has been trading in the area of NIS 3.85/dollar so far this year, as well as super-low interest rates that are allowing many dealers, especially of less popular and smaller vehicles, to offer interest-free financing, with the dealership picking up the 2 percent or so interest payments due for the loans. The massive car imports are also good news for less affluent Israelis, who now have a greater choice of used cars at cheaper prices, the CBS said.

According to the statistics, Hyundai leads the pack among nameplates, with 23,708 vehicles delivered so far this year, 24 percent more than in the first six months of 2015. Hyundai is followed by Kia, with 20,936 vehicles delivered. In third place is Toyota, with 17,126 delivered.

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