What is in this article?:
- Argentinaâ€™s New Vehicle Tax Crippling Luxury Imports
- Luxury-Vehicle Prices Up, Sales Down
The head of an industry trade group says not a single, Mercedes, Porsche or has been sold in Argentina since the tax hike took effect Jan. 1.
Tax hike of 64% leaves BMW 328i in showroom going nowhere fast.
Luxury-Vehicle Prices Up, Sales Down
Luxury-car prices have spiked an average of 104% from December to March, according to a report by abeceb.com, an economic and industrial consultancy based in Buenos Aires.
The price of a328i, which is set in dollars, rose 64% to $117,000 after the tax was implemented, according to local newspapers. A Accord V-6 was listed at more than AP700,000 ($105,000) in early January, nearly double what it cost in December. Devaluation of the peso has raised prices even further.
Sales have plummeted: WardsAuto shows no deliveries of, Porsche, Mitsubishi, or Jaguar Land Rover models, and only 21 Audis, in January in Argentina. Beato contends no Mercedes, BMW, Porsche or Mitsubishi models were sold through February, although WardsAuto data lists 927 sales by Mercedes parent in January.
The rest of the market also has fallen victim to price spikes, due to inflationary factors such as the devaluation and a new pre-emptive profits tax. Consumer buying power also is retreating amid decreasing real wages and more expensive credit stemming from government-boosted interest rates.
The prices of compact and midsize cars increased an average of 25% and 20%, respectively, from December to March, according to abeceb.com. Sales of Fords, Renaults and Volkswagens registered in January and February all saw substantial year-on-year declined.
“The whole market is affected,” says Carlos Cristofalo, who authors the autoblog.com website.
Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, who regularly accuses unnamed economic interests of trying to destabilize the government, told reporters March 17 the new tax only affects 9% of the market in Argentina, and he blamed the soaring prices of cheaper models on businessmen seeking “disproportionate profits.”
Other effects of the tax include a steady rise in the sales of pickup trucks, such as theHilux, which are exempt. The used-car market is also booming. More than 136,000 transactions were made in February, a year-on-year rise of 10.4%, according to the CCA, Argentina’s trade group. There were a total of 302,000 used-car deals in January and February, a 10-year record and an 8.8% improvement over prior-year.
“People who were saving to buy a new car, or wanted to part-exchange their car for a new one, facing the impossible barrier of new (higher) prices…instead chose to buy a used car,” CCA President Alberto Principe says.
As the new-car market spirals downward, Beato predicts some dealerships will be forced to downsize and fire staff. “It’s a complex situation,” he says. “We’re looking at a reduction in administrative and sales employees, and closing down showrooms.”
“We’ve a lot of time on our hands,” Ezequiel Santos, a salesman at a BMW dealership in Pilar, a town just outside Buenos Aires, tells WardsAuto. “The change in price is so brusque that it’s like a blockade. It’s the worst crisis we’ve ever seen.”