Brussels Motor Show: many visitors, slow sales
With 442.000 visitors in 9 days, the 97th Brussels Motor Show ‘small version’ was a success. However, importers and manufacturers are worried about slow sales. This time they don’t follow the public interest for the show.
Brussels has always been a motor show where cars could be bought. Lately the sales themselves have shifted to the dealers. At the motor show people come and compare and informants ‘lead’ them to appropriate dealers where the deal is concluded.
The organizers of the show (importers federation Febiac) surely can’t complain about the number of people visiting the show. It’s possible, however, that a lot of them were only ‘tourists’, eager to see what there is on the market and/or to stare at the dream cars.
The car buyer, usually very keen to conclude a good deal during the motor show (good offers which are already extended over 3 months around the show) seems confused. He has doubts about what to choose. Not the model, but the propulsion system.
Postponing the show
“The number of offers and orders is lower than in other years”, says Karl Schuybroek, Communications Director at Renault. “We hope that the fact of postponing the motor show with one week has something to do with it.”
William Meerschaut, spokesman for Hyundai tells the same: “At the beginning we were really worried because of slow sales, after that it became better but we don’t reach our sales targets.” Most manufacturers hope that February will be a strong sales month as motor show conditions still count.
Company cars less affected
“The market of company cars is still doing well because most people simply follow the car policy of their employer”, says a BMW dealer. Also the van market and other commercial vehicles are doing reasonably well because the economy is still going well.
One of the problems is that the individual buyer and the small independent doesn’t know what to choose under the hood. Still diesel? Can he still enter some cities with it in the future? What about the actual resale value of diesel? What are the alternatives?
The fact that the outgoing government won’t be deciding much anymore and that after the elections (26th of May) there is a possibility that we have to wait a long time for a new one, doesn’t help.
“People wait because they don’t know how taxes and low emission zones will evolve”, comments Schuybroek.
With almost 550.000 cars sold last year, the Belgian car market is doing very well for years now and this is a little bit atypical of the general evolution in Europe. Many importers and dealers were hoping to have the same sales this year, but most probably are too optimistic.
“In the beginning we thought the market would stabilize this year”, adds Meerschaut, “but meanwhile we think it will shrink with a few per cent.” The most important car importer, D’Ieteren, goes even further: it thinks that the market will recede 6% in 2019 and sell 520.000 cars.