Bahraini new light vehicle sales totalled 53,487 units in 2013, according to information on the Focus2Move website. This reportedly represented growth of 14.5% year-on-year (y-o-y), which tied in very closely to BMI's forecasts for the past year.
Looking at trends for 2014 and beyond, BMI believes that the Bahraini auto market will continue to see strong and steady growth, in the order of 7% per annum, with total sales set to rise through 65,000 units per year by the end of our forecast period in 2018.
Backing up our optimism towards the local sales market is a favourable economic backdrop. BMI's country risk team expects progress on public infrastructure projects to be the key driver of economic growth in Bahrain over the coming years, in contrast to more subdued performances in both the oil and services sectors. This quarter, we retain our forecast for real GDP growth of 3.4% in 2014, as oil production stays flat throughout the second half of the year, accelerating to 4.2% and 4.3% in 2015 and 2016 respectively on the back of stronger construction activity. This greater amount of construction work will clearly lead to rising demand for heavy trucks and related machinery, which should boost commercial vehicle sales in particular.
Car sales also remain strong, with US automaker General Motors (GM) reporting an annual rise in sales of 69% in April 2014, compared to 27% in Kuwait and 22% in the UAE. We expect total sales to expand by over 7% in 2014, with risks remaining very much to the upside.
One downside risk to our current forecasts remains the continued uncertainty surrounding Bahrain's political landscape. Ongoing domestic tensions still pose a threat to consumer and business confidence, and will continue to limit the prospects of a tangible recovery in private investment.
Further uncertainty has been caused by the decision by Bahrain's Shura Council in May 2014 to pass a new traffic law than will ban expatriates from driving unless it is part of their job....
The Bahrain Autos Report features the latest data and forecasts covering production, sales, imports and exports.
Business Monitor International (BMI)'s Bahrain Autos Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, auto associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the automotives market in Bahrain.
- Benchmark BMI's independent automotives industry forecasts on Bahrain to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the Bahraini automotives market.
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BMI Industry View
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