The Slovenia Times

After good half-year sales, car dealers getting cautious

An electric car being charged. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
Slovenia saw a solid growth in new car sales in the first half of the year, in particularly in the electric vehicles (EV) segment. However, in view of the cost-of-living crisis, car dealers are less optimistic going forward, pointing to subsidies as a key to drive EV sales.

Data from the Chamber of Commerce shows 27,310 cars were registered in Slovenia for the first time in the six months to the end of June, 5.7% more than in the same period last year.

The top selling brands were Volkswagen, Škoda, Renault and Toyota with Škoda Octavia and Renault Clio as the most popular brands and the Tesla Y model climbing to 7th as the top-selling EV.

Including vans, where new registrations fell by 5% to 3,885, a total of 31,195 cars and vans were newly registered in the first half of the year, 4.2% more year-on-year.

New registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles were up by 10.2% to 5,389 where the sales of fully electric vehicles more than doubled to 2,164.

The top-selling EV models were Tesla's Y and 3, Volkswagen's ID.3 and ID.4 and the Škoda Enyaq.

Buyers getting cautious

Most dealers are happy with the results in the first half of the year, but are more cautious in projections about the second half as general price hikes are making buyers cautious.

Porche Slovenija, the authorised dealership for the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Cupra and Škoda car brands, is noticing buyers are reluctant to place new orders.

"This can be attributed to higher car prices as well as price hikes in general. Loans also got costlier and the higher costs of living are weighing heavily on consumers' budgets," Porche Slovenija general manager Danilo Ferjančič told the Slovenian Press Agency.

In the second half of the year, car dealers hope to complete deliveries for long-standing car orders, with waiting times finally getting shorter.

Prices will likely remain as they are, because car parts are still costly, or even getting costlier, and the same goes for production and transport costs, said GA Adriatic, which sells Renaults, Dacias, Nissans and MGs.

The EU's new Euro 7 emission standard will make the production of engines much more expensive, GA Adriatic noted.

"Given the market growth, which showed that sales of new vehicles this year are 3.8% higher compared to 2022, we are performing well and achieving our targets," Jožko Tomšič, director of the Emil Frey group, an authorised dealer for 12 car brands, said.

Hope subsides will boost EV sales

There is a rising trend of electric car sales in the EU, and Porche Slovenija estimates that Slovenia also has a "relatively positive statistics", but says that higher prices of EVs will likely have consequences. The dealership has already noticed a decline in electric car orders in the last few months.

Significant price interventions by manufacturers will be needed, said Ferjančič, "or the transition to electric cars, which will inevitably happen, will be quite agonising".

GA Adriatic noted the share of EV sales in total sales is increasing slower than it should if the EU was to meet its targets on reducing transport emissions.

The company attributes the situation to high prices of battery packs. As a result, many customers cannot afford electric cars, but subsidies could help increase the share of e-car sales.

Except for the high-end vehicles, plug-in hybrids are almost impossible to sell without subsidies, they said, adding that Renault plug-in hybrids had to be withdrawn from the Slovenian market due to low demand.

In the first five months of the year Emil Frey sold 2,212 electric vehicles, up by 105% year-on-year. Tomšič also stressed the importance of subsidies and retail prices for sales.

EVs purchased after 1 May this year are eligible for higher state subsidies for new or used zero-emission cars. Buyers of cheaper vehicles stand to benefit the most, with as much as €6,500 available for cars that cost under €35,000.


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