New Report Available: Czech Republic Autos Report Q1 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Jan 13 2014

Light vehicle production in the Czech Republic declined 7.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) over the first nine months of 2013, to 834,198 units. The majority of production in this segment is for export, with Europe the main destination; the decline in output has moderated over the last few months on the back of improvements in regional sales.

Previously, BMI forecast an 8.0% decline in the country's passenger car output in 2013, as we held a bearish view on European autos sales. However, the regional market has picked up somewhat more than we had anticipated, with strong sales growth for the brands operating in the Czech Republic, and this has boosted output volumes. Accordingly, we now forecast a 5.0% decline in 2013.

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Czech household consumption remains relatively weak as government austerity measures erode disposable income and keep unemployment high. There are, however, signs that consumer confidence has improved somewhat over the last few months, although it remains weak, suggesting that the decline in sales may continue moderating in 2014 (see 'A Turnaround In H213', September 13). However, modest improvements in overall private consumption are likely to translate to only a slight uptick in big ticket purchases. We forecast vehicle sales to grow 3.1% in 2014, to 185,604 units.

In the longer term, there is still pent-up demand yet to be fulfilled, as the market is still below its pre-crisis levels. Passenger car sales fell 11.4% in 2009, rose 4.7% in 2010, and increased 2.4% in 2011. Czech passenger car sales reached their peak in 2008, at 182,554 units. While we expect a recovery in 2014 and beyond, our growth forecast over the 2014-2017 period shows that we do not expect sales to reach their 2008 high in this period.

Meanwhile, the increasing market share of foreign manufacturers in the Czech market suggests imports are also on the rise. New production facilities due to go into operation in neighbouring markets will also create an additional supply available for import into the Czech Republic. A moderation in demand for Skoda vehicles in recent years suggests consumers will continue to turn their focus to foreign brands and maintain import growth.

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