Sunday, 22 September 2019

Demand for New Cars in Croatia Increases in 2019

ZAGREB, September 22, 2019 - Demand for new cars in Europe dropped in the first eight months of 2019 as its weakening in the leading Western European markets prevailed over the mild increase in new EU member states, including Croatia, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).

Over the first eight months of 2019, new-car demand in the EU went down by 3.2% compared to the same period last year, counting 10.5 million registrations in total.

Demand for new cars decreased in five leading automobile markets, including France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, while rising 0.9% in the biggest market, Germany.

In old member states, those prior to the 2004 enlargement, demand dropped 3.6%, while in new ones it went up 1.2%.

In Croatia, 47,824 new cars were registered over the first eight months of 2019, up 1.4% on the year.

Broken down by manufacturer, Volkswagen held the largest share in Europe over the first eight months of this year (24.8%), followed by PSA (16.4%) and Renault (10.7%).

During August, the EU passenger car market contracted by 8.4%. This is mainly the result of the high base of comparison, as August 2018 saw exceptional growth (+31.2%) ahead of the introduction of the new WLTP emissions test on 1 September 2018. The top five EU markets all recorded decreases, with the strongest drops in Spain (-30.8%) and France (-14.1%).

In Croatia, 3,403 new cars were registered in August, up 6.7% on the year.

In July 2019, demand for new passenger cars increased by 1.4%, with almost 1.3 million units registered across the EU. Looking at the five big Western European markets, Germany was the only major car market to post positive results (+4.7%). The region-wide increase was largely supported by the Central European countries, where registrations went up 13.4% in July.

In Croatia, 6,205 new cars were registered in July, up 8.5% on the year.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

6,212 New Cars Sold in July, Skoda Octavia Most Sought-After Model

ZAGREB, August 6, 2019 - A total of 6,212 new cars were sold in Croatia in July, which is 8.2% or 474 more cars than in July 2018, while in the first seven months of this year 44,368 new cars were sold, only 0.9% more than in the same period of 2018, the Promocija Plus agency reported.

The most sought-after brand so far this year has been Volkswagen, with 5,440 units sold, followed by Opel (4,519 vehicles sold), Renault (4,309 units sold), Skoda (4,014) and Dacia (2,789).

Also sold in the January-July period were 68 new Porsches, 1,130 Audis, 987 BMWs and 863 Mercedeses.

The best-selling car models so far have been the Skoda Octavia (2,300 units sold), the Renault Clio (1,924), the Volkswagen Golf (1,399), the Opel Corsa (1,273), and the Suzuki Vitara (1,267).

The Skoda Octavia was the most popular model also in July, with 460 vehicles sold, ahead of the Opel Corsa (240) and the VW Golf (226).

A total of 27,045 vehicles sold in the first seven months, or 61%, were powered by petrol, 15,757 or 35.5% were powered by diesel, 1,056 were hybrids and 87 were electric vehicles.

More news about the Croatian car market can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Prime Minister Plenković Visits Rimac Automobili

ZAGREB, June 28, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and five government ministers as well as representatives of Hyundai and Porsche on Friday held talks at the Rimac Automobili company, located in Sveta Nedelja outside Zagreb, on the potential of the automobile industry and ways of attracting it to Croatia, with Rimac Automobili owner Mate Rimac presenting a study with concrete guidelines on how to attract such investments.

Earlier this week, Plenković held a meeting with Rimac, the founder of one of the leading producers of electric vehicles and high-performance technology, after which a visit to his company was announced.

Hyundai Motor Group and Kia have so far invested EUR 80 million in Rimac Automobili while Porsche has invested 18 million euro.

Upon arriving at Rimac Automobili, Plenković and other guests first toured the company's production units, after which Rimac presented a study with specific guidelines and measures as to how Croatia could attract investments in the automobile industry.

Rimac noted that Croatia could be attractive to car producers if it had comparative advantages. That way, it could become an investment destination, which unfortunately is not the case at the moment, Rimac said.

He singled out the examples of Slovakia and Estonia, which have a population of the size similar to that of Croatia and which over the last ten years have significantly increased their GDP owing to investments in the car industry, which Rimac believes is also possible in Croatia.

"The key to success in the automobile industry is a country's strategy and vision of what it wants to achieve. I believe that now is the right time for Croatia to join the so-called third wave of investments in the car industry because we missed out on that opportunity in the last ten years," said Rimac.

He said that the first investment wave in the car industry caught the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, the second caught again Slovakia as well as Romania, while the third one could include Croatia, in which all of his partners were interested as were representatives of Hyundai and Porsche.

Hyundai owns a 14% interest in Rimac Automobili and Porsche a 10% interest.

"Your achievements are great; you have made an analysis that compares Croatia against other countries and shows how Croatia could become involved more strongly. That is why we will now hold two-hour talks on what we can do together in that regard," Plenković said.

More news about Rimac Automobili can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Samobor to Host Citroen 2CV Fans from Around the World

The 23rd International Meeting of Citroen 2CV cars will be held for the first time in Croatia, with more than 12,000 enthusiasts expected to attend. The event will take place from 30 July to 4 August. This is the largest such gathering of drivers and fans of Citroen’s legendary car 2CV, popularly known in Croatia as Spaček, and it has been held since 1975. Approximately 12,000 participants from over 30 countries will come to Samobor, including some from Australia and Ivory Coast!

This event has been selected as one of the 30 TOP events in Croatia in 2019 supported by the Croatian National Tourist Board, as the only event in Zagreb County. It is organised by the Croatian 2CV Citroen Club, headquartered in Samobor, which has gathered drivers of the popular Spaček cars for 20 years, but also Dyane, Mehari and other favourite Citroen models in which they travelled much of Europe and the world. The club is a member of ACI (Amicale International Citroen), the international association of Citroen clubs based in Paris.

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“To host such an event is a huge recognition, but also a responsibility because people from around the world will come, and we want to present them not only Samobor but also other parts of our country,” says Goran Skrbin, president of the club, which will also organise adventures for visitors after the event ends – 2CV Adriatic Raid will travel through Gorski Kotar, Lika and the coastal areas and conclude in Split, while the 2CV Continental Raid will travel through inland Croatia, including Hrvatsko Zagorje, Sisak, Lonjsko Polje and Slavonia, with the finish near Đakovo.

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Zagreb County and the town of Samobor support this event. “The county has provided funding to support this event, which will bring people from all over the world to the beautiful Samobor. The event will certainly contribute to an even greater growth of tourism sector, which in the first four months of this year recorded 15 per cent more overnights and 14 per cent more arrivals than last year,” said director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board Ivana Alilović.

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“With this event, Samobor will stand alongside the European destinations that have hosted this meeting in recent years, including De Steeg in the Netherlands, Salbris in France and Ericeira in Portugal, which have the necessary infrastructure, people and enthusiasm for organising such a large gathering. Samobor will not only present itself as a town but also Croatia as a desirable tourist destination,” said Martina Paladin, director of the Samobor Town Tourist Board.

The meeting will be an occasion to mark the first century of the French car manufacturer. It will include the “100 Years of Citroen Museum”, where visitors will be able to see original exhibits from Tomos and Cimos factories. A 2CV motorcade ride to the centre of Zagreb will be organised, with 200 vehicles coming to Ban Jelačić Square, and there will also be an off-road ride on the Žumberak hill. Visitors will be provided with a fully-equipped camp and a commercial zone with stalls for traders of spare parts, souvenirs, a variety of food and beverages, children’s programme, the selection of the most original vehicle, the unique driving experience, 2CV flea market, evening concerts, gastro corners promoting Croatian regions and many other exciting events. At the end of the meeting, the host of the 24th World Meeting in 2021 and the candidate for the organisation of the 25th World Meeting in 2023 will be presented.

More Samobor news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Sales of New Cars Stagnate in January-April Period

ZAGREB, May 6, 2019 - A total of 20,772 new cars were sold in Croatia in the first four months of 2019, or 0.5 percent fewer than at the same time in 2018, according to data released by Promocija Plus agency.

The best-selling car model in the January-April period was the Skoda Octavia, with 1,180 vehicles sold and a market share of 5.7 percent. It was followed by the Renault Clio, with 1,129 units sold and a market share of 5.4 percent, and the Volkswagen Golf, with 682 units sold and a market share of 3.3 percent.

The top ten models included the Suzuki Vitara (644 units sold), Dacia Sandero (607), Dacia Duster (600), Opel Astra (581), Volkswagen T-Roc (542), Renault Captur (486) and Volkswagen Tiguan (472).

In terms of market share, Volkswagen led with 13.6 percent, ahead of Renault (10.8 percent), Skoda (10 percent) and Opel (8.3 percent).

Of the total number of cars sold in the first four months of the year, 59 percent were powered by petrol and 38 percent by diesel, 0.2 percent were electric cars, 0.6 percent were powered by natural gas, and 2.7 percent were hybrids.

In April 2019 alone, 8,633 new passenger cars were sold, or 71 percent more than in March 2019 and 23 percent more than in April 2018. The best-selling model was the Renault Clio, ahead of the Skoda Octavia and Opel Astra.

More news about car sales in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Mate Rimac Says Electricity, Sharing, Autonomy Future of Car Industry

ZAGREB, April 30, 2019 - Electric, shared and autonomous - that is the future of cars and the car industry in decades to come, but the question is whether Croatia will be bypassed by an investment wave and whether we will respond on time, said Rimac Automobili owner Mate Rimac at the Croatia E-Mobility Forum, organised by the Jutarnji List daily and the American Chamber of Commerce in Zagreb on Tuesday.

"The future will bring radical changes in the car industry as early as the next 20 years. Cars will be used when necessary, their users will not be their owners, and future generations will probably not even learn how to drive. Close to 80% of cars will be autonomous by 2030 and all cars will be connected to the Internet. Newly-registered electric cars now account for 2% of all cars in Europe, and by 2030 they will account for one-third of all cars, while as many as 90% will be shared by 2030," he said.

Rimac noted that over the past decades the automobile industry had spread across the 'new Europe', the only exception being Croatia.

As a result, Croatia has less than one billion dollars in revenue from the car industry while, for example, the Czech Republic, has 41 billion, he said.

He said that his research showed that contributions on high salaries, such as those in his company, were the highest in Europe, which drives investors away.

"Workers who are paid well bring new value and better jobs for others. Croatia should be a place that will attract the most innovative companies and engineers. The state should decide which investor it wants to attract and proactively work on that," he said.

The head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia, Andrea Doko Jelušić, said that there were an estimated 3.1 million electric vehicles on roads in the world.

She said that the expansion of e-mobility faced three challenges that had to be dealt with: the range of vehicles, infrastructure, and the price, which is defined by expensive batteries.

The head of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, Dubravko Ponoš, said that this year subsidies for electric vehicles and bicycles amounted to 40 million kuna.

Subsidies will be allocated in the years to come as well, and there will no longer be interruptions in their allocation, he said, noting that the amount of subsidies granted by the Fund was nonetheless ten times smaller than the interest in them.

More news about Mate Rimac can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Nearly 70% of Vehicles in Croatia More Than a Decade Old

ZAGREB, April 18, 2019 - Croatia has a relatively old vehicle fleet in all vehicle categories, with the average age of passenger cars at 12.6 years, motorcycles and mopeds at 12.5 years and tractors at over 30 years old, according to data from the Croatian Centre Centre for Vehicles.

Last year, 79,935 used passenger cars and 61,745 new ones were registered, as imports of used vehicles continued to grow, especially after the country joined the European Union.

The statistics showed that as many as 68.4 percent of cars were more than a decade old.

In other categories, buses were on average 11.7 years old, trucks 11.4 years and trailers 19.1 years old.

The Centre for Vehicles noted that a vehicle's age affects its roadworthiness. "Over 400,000 vehicles registered in 2018 did not have any of the modern braking systems installed (ABS or ABS+ESAP), which can greatly affect road safety," it said.

Last year, 431,538 cars were found to be technically faulty and were ordered off the road until the faults and shortcomings identified were removed.

The European Commission has set a goal to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50 percent over the next decade.

The Centre for Vehicles says that this goal can be achieved only through closer cooperation between all road safety stakeholders, better control and targeted financing of measures.

More car news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

60,000 New Cars Sold in 2018, Including a Rolls-Royce

Last year, 60,041 new cars were sold in Croatia, which is 18.3 percent more than the year earlier, when 50,769 vehicles were sold, according to the Ministry of Interior's data gathered by the Promocija Plus agency. In December, buyers bought 2,412 vehicles, up 12.4 percent from December 2017, reports on January 8, 2019.

Most of the new cars were sold by Volkswagen – 8,932, with the share in total sales of 14.9 percent, followed by Renault with 5.805 vehicles and 9.7 percent, and Škoda with 5.293 units and 8.8 percent. Opel sold 5.212 vehicles and was in the fourth place (8.7 percent share), followed by Suzuki fifth (3.794, 6.3 percent share).

In addition, in 2018, Croatian citizens purchased 1,804 new Audis, 1,487 BMWs, 1,166 Mercedes and 85 Porsches. Among the more expensive brands, Croatians bought three Maseratis, one Ferraris and one Lotus, and even one Rolls-Royce.

However, the most popular models of the last year were somewhat cheaper, so Škoda Octavia was the best-selling car with 2,981 vehicles, followed by the popular Renault Clio (2,599) and the local favourite Volkswagen Golf, which sold 2,193 units to Croatians. The same producer is at the fourth place with Polo (2,162), and the top five list ends with Suzuki Vitara (1,720).

According to the fuel option, gasoline cars had a market share of 54.9 percent (32.940 vehicles), diesel accounted for 42.7 percent (25.618) of vehicles sold, and there were 834 hybrids sold, with a market share of 1.4 percent. Gas vehicles had the share in total sales of 0.8 percent (504), while electric cars came last, with 145 units sold and a market share of 0.2 percent.

Although the diesel engines are slowly losing their battle with gasoline, diesel cars are still more popular in the premium segment. For example, of all the Audis sold last year, 78.7 percent were with diesel engines, with the share rising to 87.2 percent for BMWs and 95.3 percent for Mercedes.

A third of new car sales – 35.9 percent or 21.566 units, was realized in the Zagreb area. The second place belongs to Požega-Slavonia County (4.634 vehicles and the share of 7.7%), followed by Split-Dalmatia County (4.596, 7,6%). The lowest number of cars, just 198 (0.3 percent share) was sold in Lika-Senj County.

More news on Croatia’s car industry can be found in the Business section.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Media Claim Hyundai Planning to Start Car Production in Croatia

ZAGREB, December 5, 2018 - Economy Minister Darko Horvat said on Wednesday that he still had not received confirmation that Hyundai was coming to start car production in Croatia and announced that in a few days' time he would present two action plans to the cabinet aimed at removing or simplifying more than 300 different regulations.

Asked by reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting whether it was true that Hyundai was planning to come to Varaždin, Horvat said that at the moment there was no confirmation that any reputable car manufacturer planned to come to Croatia but added that he had contacted five key actors in the automobile industry and that Hyundai was among them.

The Jutarnji List daily on Wednesday reported that the South Korean automobile producer Hyundai has for two months been considering the possibility of launching production in Croatia. Hyundai would most probably build its plant in the Varaždin area and the plant would produce complete vehicles and not just car parts.

Commenting on the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) relative optimism regarding 2019, Horvat said that the government and all stakeholders on the political scene, too, shared that same optimism. He added that negative trends had been reversed but that he was not satisfied about growth rates and that in 2019 he expected further mild improvement.

HUP on Tuesday presented its annual Barometer of Optimism which shows that the majority of Croatian employers (51%) believe that the economic situation next year will remain about the same as this year while 34% consider that it will be a little better.

Asked to comment on criticism from HUP about excessive taxes, Horvat recalled that according to Eurostat data, Croatia's tax burden is ranked "fourth from the bottom in the EU28."

"I agree with them when they claim that there are too many administrative procedures and non-tax levies, and the two action plans that we will present to the cabinet in the next few days are designed to either abolish or simplify more than 300 different administrative measures and regulations and abolish or decrease some non-tax levies."

For more on the Croatian car industry, click here.

Friday, 30 November 2018

With New Tax, Price of Cigarettes in Croatia to Increase

ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 - The government on Friday endorsed a regulation to increase excise tax on cigarettes that will raise the price of cigarettes in Croatia by two kuna a pack, and on vehicles in an effort to prevent a possible price hike on cars following the introduction of new EU measures on exhaust fumes.

Presenting the excise tax on cigarettes state secretary in the Finance Ministry Zdravko Zrinušić said that the price of a packet of cigarettes should not increase more than two kuna.

The regulation aligns the minimum excise duties on cigarettes with EU Directive 2011/64/EU which requires Member States to levy a minimum rate of excise duties on cigarettes. This minimum rate must consist of: a specific component of between 7.5% and 76.5% of the total tax burden (TTB) – expressed as a fixed amount per 1000 cigarettes.

The regulation determines that the excise duty be increased from 310 kuna to 335 kuna for 1000 cigarettes while the proportional duty will remain at 34% of the retail price. The regulation enters into force on December 3

Additional reduction in value components on vehicle tax proposed

The government also endorsed a regulation regarding a special vehicle tax that will enter into force as of 1 January.

Zrinušić explained that the regulation will reduce the burden of the value component of the vehicle tax and introduces an excise duty on CO2 emissions per kilometre.

That means reducing the value component in order to reduce the tax burden on vehicles. A reduction of 6.8% is planned in the first phase or about 97 million kuna, and if the trend of vehicle purchases continues as it is now that could mean a reduction of 350 million kuna in tax breaks, Zrinušić explained.

The regulation means that the value component of vehicle tax would be reduced from 4,500 kuna to 3,500 kuna for vehicles valued by between 200,000 kuna and 250,000 kuna.

Vehicles classified as category 1 and 2 with a value up to 150,000 kuna will still not be required to pay the value component while the third category of vehicles valued between 150,000 to 200,000 kuna would remain at the current 2,000 kuna.

In early October, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić announced that he would try and buffer any possible price hike on the cost of vehicles due to the new way exhaust fumes are measured as set by the EU.

For more on taxes in Croatia, click here.

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