New cars: higher prices, fewer sales

A total of 530 thousand new cars were sold in the Netherlands in 2001, eleven percent fewer than in 2000 when 598 thousand left the showrooms. In spite of this decrease, car sales are still relatively high.

Total car sales

In the record year 1999, a total 611 thousand new cars were sold in the Netherlands; since then sales have been falling.

Shift from private to company sales

Total car sales can be broken down into cars sold to private customers and those bough for use as company cars. The ratio between these two categories has been changing in recent years.

The proportion of company purchases has risen in the last few years and overtook the proportion of private purchases in 2001. In the first half of 1993 only 37 percent of new cars were bought for use as company cars; by the first half of 2001 this proportion had risen to 53 percent.

The trend does not seem set to continue though: in the first half of 2002 the proportion of company cars fell below fifty percent again.

Composition of total car sales

Hefty price increases for new cars

In the first half of 2002 the average price of a new car was nearly 22 thousand euro. Cars bought as company cars cost noticeably more (nearly 25 thousand euro) than cars bought for private use (just over 18 thousand euro).

Prices of new cars

Between 1995 and 2001 the average price of a new car for private use rose by twelve percent. The price of cars purchased as company cars rose by nearly seventeen percent. Partly because of the shift from (cheaper) private to (more expensive) company cars, the average price of new cars rose even more strongly, by more than eighteen percent.

The total increase in the average price in the period 1995-2001 is accounted for by quality improvement. Only three percent consists of a real price increase. The other fifteen percent is caused by the improvement in the quality of cars sold.

In recent years more larger and more powerful luxury models can be seen on Dutch roads.

Hermanus Rietveld and Michiel Vergeer