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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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.
Distributors expect that at the end of 2013 a record will be broken when they register sales of 14,000 new cars.
Laprensa.com.ni reports: "The stabilization that the industry has experienced in recent years has been driven in part by attractive financing rates and the various marketing strategies which have been carried out."
There is scope for increasing the number of vehicles per thousand inhabitants, which currently stands at 132.
A study by the World Bank ranked Panama as being in ninth place in a list of countries with the most cars from across the region. In the first 11 months of 2013, the automotive sector sold 51,569 vehicles, 6,086 more than in the same period of 2012, according to statistics from the Panama Dealers Authority (Adap).
In the first eight months of 2013 36,189 vehicles were sold, 4,848 more than in the same period of 2012.
The data was supplied by the Comptroller General of the Republic.
Laestrella.com.pa reports that "the best sellers were in the category of sedans, coupes and trucks with a total of 16,473 units sold (22% more than in 2012).