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Portugal’s used car imports triple due to high new car prices

vwImports into Portugal of used vehicles have more than tripled since the Troika arrived, according to the Automobile Association of Portugal.

Lower prices, coupled with tax advantages, explain the growth of this market that has seen imports of used vehicles increased 16.7% in 2018 to 77,241 units.

This number is more than three times the 23,145 used cars imported in 2011. Hence, the proportion of used imported cars has gone from 15% to 34% in the last seven years.

“People often choose to wait at least six months to buy a used car because they pay 20% or 30% less than buying a new one,” said the CEO of Montepio Crédito, Pedro Gouveia Alves.

Five year old models are the favourites, added Vítor Gouveia, the president of the Portuguese Automobile Trade Association.

Pedro Gouveia Alves warned that older vehicles, “are riskier because they don’t have the manufacturer’s warranty.”

“The Portuguese prefer to buy cars from the mid to low segments. Cars with lower carbon dioxide emissions, as well as lower engine capacity, are more interesting for the Portuguese market,” says Gouveia, well aware that car prices in Portugal are impossibly high for most drivers.

The used car import market worries ACAP Secretary General Helder Pedro, “Due to the different tax levels between countries, we are witnessing the arrival of a large number of used vehicles, in proportions normally only seen in countries such as Romania and Poland,” in other words, Portugal’s new car prices are high due to the array of taxes imposed.

Helder Pedro points out that this situation has contributed to the advanced age of the nation’s cars. When the Troika rolled into town, cars were in average 10.1 years old; in 2018, five years after the “clean exit” from the Troika’s grasp, cars averaged 12.6 years old, hardly eco-friendly.