Lyubomir Dorosiev, Deputy Chairperson of the Association of Automobile Importers, in interview with FOCUS News Agency
FOCUS: Mr Dorosiev, what is the situation in your sector at moment? Lyubomir Dorosiev: The situation is very good. We register a gradual increase in the sale of used cars since the turn of the year. It is of around 10% to 20% and the sales started climbing up over the last four-five months.
FOCUS: How do you explain this tendency? Lyubomir Dorosiev: I guess the increase is at the expense of the new cars. Due to the crisis people prefer to buy a car according to the money they have and do not want to buy cars on leasing. Some 30% of the vehicle’s price is lost after it is taken out from the show room. Other 50% of the price is lost in the first year, while 70% in the second.
At the moment, the most sold used cars cost up to BGN 20,000 and are 3 to 7 years ‘old’.
FOCUS: It turns out that the higher fuel prices made Bulgarians give up on using their vehicles. Do you agree? Lyubomir Dorosiev: The vehicle is always necessary. In addition, the increase of the fuel also affects the price of the tickets for the public transport – buses, trains. If, for instance, four people decide to go on a trip, it will be cheaper to use a car together than pay for a bus ticket.
We also decreased the profit margin and I may say that it is very profitable to buy a car in Bulgaria. If one decides to go and buy a car abroad, it would cost at least BGN 1,000 more expensive than if one buys the vehicle in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria became a centre for cars sales in the Balkans. Citizens of Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Albania, of the Soviet republics, find it more profitable to buy a car in Bulgaria than in West Europe.
FOCUS: Are we ready and is there a place for electric cars at the Bulgarian market? Lyubomir Dorosiev: This is a very modern issue. I think that there is still no ground for these vehicles even in West Europe, then what to say about Bulgaria… The electric cars are still too expensive for the Bulgarians. Such a vehicle costs around at least EUR 40,000. It is something new and the prices are still too high.
FOCUS: You say that more and more citizens of the neighbouring countries come to by a car in Bulgaria. Can we speak of car purchase tourism? Lyubomir Dorosiev: Absolutely. Moldovans of Bulgarian origin very often buy cars from Bulgaria then bring them in Moldova and resell them.
The Albanians and Macedonians, too – they open car dealerships. The same way we make business in Italy with these used cars, and over the last decades the Bulgarians there have established really good positions.
Citizens of Poland, Morocco, and Latvia also settled in Italy, but the Bulgarians there are with the best position. The Bulgarians have been exporting cars from Italy for more than 20 years.
FOCUS: How much are these foreign citizens ready to pay for a car in Bulgaria? Lyubomir Dorosiev: It is an interesting fact that they used to come to buy cars that cost up to BGN 5,000 – BGN 6,000. At the moment the price is bigger, they are ready to pay BGN 10,000, BGN 20,000, and even more than BGN 30,000.
FOCUS: Do you think that this tendency will be preserved over the next months? Lyubomir Dorosiev: Yes, I do, because it is a proven fact that when the people do not have money, they prefer not to lose money. Our Association is not a piece-by-piece trader, we are legitimate and everyone knows it.
The big car dealerships have much work. Those that work under the piece-by-piece strategy start dropping out of the market or join the big traders.
FOCUS: In other words, the cases of frauds and misled buyers will decrease seriously? Lyubomir Dorosiev: People should good sense and do not focus only on the price, as the lowest price does not secure buying the best car. They should focus on a little bit higher price and thus secure a better quality.