Car industry in Portugal receives long awaited boost

Light passenger vehicle sales increased by 87 per cent in March in comparison with the same month last year, representing the highest increase in car category, according to Portugal’s Automobile Association (ACAP).

In a press release by the association, a total of 23,860 light passenger vehicles were sold in March this year against the 12,754 sold in the same month last year (see graphic 1).

The category increased its sales volume by 69.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, with a total of 53,777 light passenger vehicles being sold (see graphic 3) in relation to the same period in 2009, which registered “unusually low car sales”, said ACAP.

According to the association, this increase has allowed the industry to reach a peak similar to previous years (see graphic 2), however it has not been enough to produce the desired results.

“The severe crisis that hit the car sector last year was particularly felt in the first half of the year, with an average decline of sales of 40 per cent. By the end of the first half of 2010, the market is expected to achieve considerable growth,” said a spokesman for ACAP.

The sale of light commercial vehicles increased by 20.5 per cent in March, with 3,887 vehicles sold, in comparison to the same month in 2009.

In the first quarter of this year, this car category grew by 19.6 per cent in relation to the same period of 2009, with a total of 9,947 units sold in Portugal.

On the other hand, the sales volume of heavy vehicles dropped by 28.7 per cent in March in comparison to the same month last year, with 229 vehicles sold. In the first quarter of 2010, sales reached 750 vehicles, representing a fall of 36 per cent on the same period last year.