JUNE 25 2012 – The streets of Kazakh cities are clogged with cars. Most are old, rusting cars from Europe but increasingly new models are competing for space on the tarmac.
And it’s not just the super-cars of the super-rich — typically Porsche, BMW and Range Rover — but also more standard mid-range cars from Lada, Hyundai and Kia.
Kazakh media has quoted figures showing that new car sales jumped over 40% in the first five months of the year compared to 2011. In total 7,372 new cars were sold in May.
That’s still relatively small, in Britain over 160,000 new cars were sold in May, but it’s an important rise and a sustained trend — it was the 25th month in row that new car sales had risen.
Lada, a Russian brand, dominates the new car market with 43% of total sales. South Korea’s Hyundai follows with 14% and then Japans’ Toyota and Kia, also of South Korea.
The type of cars Kazakhs are buying is important. It suggests that less wealthy Kazakhs are buying new cars, opening up a potential new market. It also points to a confident economy.
Despite concerns about a second global economic downturn, the Kazakh economy appears robust — at least measured by new car sales.
This article was taken from issue 15 of the 1-page weekly Kazakhstan News Extra. For more information click here