Bahrain Autos Report Q4 2013 - New Study Released

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Nov 04 2013

We have revised up our forecasts for new vehicle sales in Bahrain in 2013 from a 9% year-on-year (y-o-y) rise expected earlier to a more robust 14.5% y-o-y growth.

The upgrade reflects our overall optimism for the economy during 2013 and 2014, when we expect real GDP growth of 4.3% and 3.4% respectively. We believe that planned expansion in government current spending will help stimulate private consumption, which in turn will support new vehicle sales.

The first half of 2013 has seen a solid revival in economic activity, primarily driven by a normalisation of oil output following a prolonged technical disruption at the Abu Safa field in 2012. Latest data from the Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) shows that annual real GDP growth reached 4.2% in the first quarter of the year, compared with 4.9% and 2.5% in Q112 and Q412 respectively. Annual growth in the hydrocarbon sector reached 7.9%, the best performance since Q311.

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In terms of vehicle segments, we expect passenger car sales to outperform the commercial vehicle segment with sales growth of 15% y-o-y. Commercial vehicles accounted for fewer than 15% of the total vehicle sales during 2012, but this proportion is likely to increase to just under 17% by the end of the forecast period to 2017. Investments in the infrastructure and construction segment will result in the commercial vehicle sales growth outperforming that in the passenger cars segment. By the end of 2017, new vehicles market will close to 58,900 units - up over 40% compared with 2012 levels.

Bahrain remains an important target for luxury and premium vehicle makers similar to its neighbouring markets. August 2013 witnessed the launch of the limited edition MINI Ray in the market at dealership firm Euro Motors. MINI's sales in the region increased 11% y-o-y, to 773 cars during the first half of 2013.

With the view to tap demand from affluent consumers, UK bank Standard Chartered, in September 2013, entered into a partnership with Monther Al Mutlaq Trading Establishment, the official agent for US premium motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, an exclusive Islamic personal finance deal will be available on purchasing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Customers will also receive a free BHD150 (US$396) voucher to redeem motorcycle accessories, after completion of the Sharia-compliant personal finance agreement.

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