This is one of the areas that responds the quickest to the ups and downs of the economy, and the cumulative increase year over year of auto sales is a clear sign of the current expansive force of the Panamanian economy.
An article in Laestrella.com.pa reports that "According to the development of sales this year automotive trade could close with the sale of approximately 49,000 new units, equivalent to a GDP growth of 6%."
The most sought after models are: Accent GL (1.582) Elantra (1282), Hi Lux (1202), Tucson IX (1073), Rio (862), CRV (801), RAV 4 (762), Picanto Hatchback (656), Sportage (643) and Frontier (610).
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Car dealers project selling 8,500 units by the end of 2011, 20% more than in 2010.
The Nicaraguan Association of Motor Vehicles, Andiva, said that despite the increase, the country remains the smallest importer of vehicles in the region.
"2011 is a year of recovery for the new vehicle industry," said, Sergio Mantica, Isuzu Sales Manager, Nicaragua and organizer of the Fair Andiva 2011 to El Nuevo Diario.
Sales of new cars at the end of 2012 in Nicaragua will total over 12,000 units.
Data published by the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN) indicates that during the first five months of the year imports of sedans, vans, minibuses, trucks and ATV’s have gone up relative to previous years, surpassing even the 2008 statistics.
In the first 5 months of the year, importers sold 2,960 new trucks, an increase of 63% compared to the same period in 2011.
In the first 5 months of 2011 1,820 new trucks were sold meaning that the figures for the first 5 months of this year show an increase of 62.6%, despite rising fuel prices.
Although the numbers do not match those of 2007, a record year, in 2011 Nicaraguans are set to spend $112 million on new vehicles.
In 2009, unit sales fell by 50%, in the context of the global economic crisis. Recovery starting in 2010 recovery has now been confirmed in 2011 being spurred on by the growth of the Nicaraguan economy.