Georgia Re-Exports 90% of its Imported Vehicles

Georgia Re-Exports 90% of its Imported Vehicles

The FINANCIAL -- Auto import has increased by 17% during the first ten months of 2013, in comparison with the same period of last year. Germany, Japan and the USA remain the main countries from which cars are imported to Georgia. Almost 90% of imported vehicles have been exported from Georgia mostly to Azerbaijan and Armenia. Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Toyota and BMW remain the top most popular auto brands.

A total of 66,178 vehicles, worth USD 575,491.3 thousand, have been imported in Georgia during the first ten months of 2013, up from the 54,778 of last year’s results. The number of exported vehicles was 59,512, worth USD 568,747.4 thousand, in January-October 2013. The figure was 47,287 units, worth USD 483,590.7 thousand, during the same period of last year.

AKA GmbH Mercedes-Benz Georgia sold 98 units during the first 11 months of 2013. 42 units were the results of the whole of 2012.

The bestselling model of 2013 was the Mercedes-Benz GL, costing EUR 75,000-120,000.

“July was the bestselling month at our salon. We expect to have 150% sales growth in 2013, compared with 2012,” Lasha Lomidze, Sales Manager at AKA GmbH Mercedes-Benz Georgia, told The FINANCIAL.

Another auto dealer - Hyundai Georgia - has also achieved sales growth in 2013 in comparison with the previous year.

“We have sold 966 units in 2013 up from 904 from the same period of last year,” Mariam Giorgobiani, Marketing Manager at Hyundai Auto Georgia, told The FINANCIAL.

According to Giorgobiani, the bestselling model of the year was the Hyundai IX35. The price starts from USD 23,150. “October is the bestselling month for our company,” she added.

“It is difficult to predict the exact figures of our total sales growth but the already existing figures show that the sales volume of 2013 will exceed that of the previous year,” said Giorgobiani.

According to GeoStat, 14,342 units of Mercedes-Benz were imported in Georgia in 2013. Another German brand, Opel, shared second place as the list of bestselling cars amounted to 8,943. Japanese Toyota follows the German brands with 6,900 units, while sales of another German brand - BMW - amounted to 6,339.

“For the first time ever, the Rustavi auto market “Autopapa” was at full capacity during the hitherto quietest season in the automotive business. The bestselling cars are Mercedes and Opel models,” said Tamar Mashava, Head of the Marketing Department. “The auto market in Georgia is developing rapidly. In just four years Georgia has become a centre of trade for cars from across the whole of the Caucasus. 85 percent of cars imported in Georgia are then re-exported which confirms Georgia’s role as a regional centre in the car trade,” she added.

The auto market Autopapa is a place where mainly used cars are sold.

There are currently 213 car trader enterprises operating in Georgia.

One of the new trends for 2013 is crossover automobiles, so called “small jeeps”, according to auto dealers. Bright colours are also trendy this year. Customers who buy new cars tend to go for white, orange, blue and red coloured cars. Cars with diesel engines are more popular than others.

“Demand is increasing for models which did not interest our customers so much before,” said Ia Modebadze, Marketing Manager at Iberia Business Group, an official representative of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda Auto, Mitsubishi Motors, Peugeot, KIA motors and Renault. Iberia Business Group invested GEL 4 million in Rustavi to open a new automotive market there called “Myauto” in 2011. “The most popular cars in recent days have been the Kia Cee’d and Kia Soul. Generally speaking, each brand has its most popular models such as the Kia Sportage and Cerato, Vokswagen Tiguan and CC, Mitsubishi Pajro and ASX, Audi A8 and Q5.The fact that Skoda has issued a brand new model called “Rapid”, which is for sale in the retail market, has led to increased customer interest in the group. Due to the affordable prices and good offers at Kia, the company has greatly increased in popularity recently. As for Mitsubishi, its advantage lies in it being off-road - it handles very well in places where there is literally ‘no road’,” she added.

On average the prices for cars at IBG vary from USD 11,000 to USD 130,000: KIA motors - from USD 11,000 to USD 50,000; Volkswagen - USD 18,000 to USD 70,000; Mitsubishi - USD 18,500 to USD 40,000; Skoda - USD 14,200 to USD 35,000; Audi - USD 50,000 to USD 130,000.

Customers can buy cars at Toyota Center Tbilisi for between USD 17,600 and USD 78,700. “In our showroom at the moment we have a Lexus, which is a business class, luxury brand and costs USD 145, 000,” said Nino Gagua, Sales Manager. “In general, our market is cheaper compared to markets in Azerbaijan or in Armenia. Nowadays when Georgian customers come to buy a car, they tend to be very well-informed and prepared in advance. In the past we were seeing people that were a bit unsure. There has been a noticeable shift in the confidence levels of our buyers, however, and now when they come in they know what they want and they tell us what it is that they need. They are already putting emphasis on the value of long-term aspects. Customers do not only pay attention to the visual aspect of cars now, but the technical side as well. Taking into consideration all of these factors, the Toyota RAV4 is the overall bestselling car, not only in Georgia, but worldwide as well. The Land Cruiser 200 and Land Cruiser Prado are favourite cars of Georgian customers,” she added.