Israel Importing More Cars Than Ever

Heavy traffic on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israeli commuters continue to suffer from daily massive traffic jams, but that’s not stopping them from buying more cars than ever before.

The number of cars imported during June—32,000—broke all previous records for the month, Globes reported on Monday.

This brings to about 183,000 the number of new cars delivered in the first half of 2021, almost as many as in all of 2020.

The number would have been even higher had it not been for a global shortage of chips. An industry source was quoted as saying that if not for that, the volume of car deliveries in June would have been 15%-20% higher.

Analysts say that the strong demand is the result of multiple factors, including shortages last year in supplying car fleets, realizing major profits by many investors, and people spending money saved that they would have spent on summer vacation but are unable to due to pandemic restrictions.

Demand for some popular models is insatiable; waiting lists are said to be stretching ahead to the fourth quarter of 2021 and even the first half of 2022.

A big chunk of the market is being taken by electric cars. Some 5,000 delivered in the first half of this year, which was three times the number in 2020.

The Ministry of Finance is also seeing a boom year—an estimated 2.5-3 billion shekels from car purchase taxes.

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