Motor vehicle trade grew 65 per cent in Bulgaria in 2011, Eurostat says

There was a 65 per cent growth in the motor vehicle trade in Bulgaria in 2011, according to statistics from European Union statistics agency Eurostat, compiled in an analysis of the international trade in motor vehicles.

According to Eurostat’s figures, cars worth a total of about 36.4 million euro were exported from Bulgaria last year.

In 2011, the EU exported motor cars worth 93.8 billion euro, Eurostat said. Imports in that same year amounted to about a quarter of that value (24.2 billion euro), giving an EU trade surplus of 69.6 billion euro.

The value of extra-EU exports of motor cars increased by an average 25 per cent a year between 2009 and 2011, according to Eurostat. During the same period, extra-EU imports grew at a much slower pace, at an average three  per cent a year.

In 2011, the United States remained the EU’s main partner for motor car exports (21 per cent of the total), just ahead of China (19 per cent). Together with Russia (eight per cent) and Switzerland (seven per cent) they counted for more than half of the EU market. Since 2009, EU motor car exports to China and Russia have grown particularly rapidly (respectively +47  per cent and +40  per cent a year).

Over a quarter (28 per cent) of all extra-EU motor car imports in 2011 came from Japan, followed by the United States (20 per cent), South Korea and Turkey (both 14 per cent). Among the major partners for imports, Japan is the only one to show a decrease of trade in recent years.

Within the broader “road vehicles” category (which includes lorries, road tractors, motorcycles, trailers and motor-vehicle parts), motor cars represented 60 per cent of extra-EU exports and 47 per cent of extra-EU imports in 2011. Parts and accessories of motor vehicles had a share of 23  per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.

Germany was responsible for more than half (60 per cent) of total extra-EU motor car exports; apart from Germany, the United Kingdom was the only EU country to show a positive trade balance of noticeable size.

At the same time, Germany was also the biggest importer of motor cars in 2011; about one third of the total value of extra-EU imports can be ascribed to Germany, well ahead of Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom.


Trading partners

In 2011, the US remained the number one partner for extra-EU exports with a share of 21 per cent (close to 20 billion euro). In recent years,ChinaovertookRussiaandSwitzerlandto became the second export market for EU cars (19 per cent share) due to a particularly strong growth. Starting from a low level in absolute terms, exports to China displayed an impressive average growth rate between 2000 and 2011 of 48 per cent a year.

In 2011, more than a quarter (28  per cent) of extra-EU motor car imports came from Japan, well ahead of the US (20  per cent) and South Korea (14  per cent). Imports from the US and from Mexico have been growing at an average 16 per cent a year, between 2009 and 2011. Imports from South Africa increased even faster during the same period (+24  per cent a year on average). The strongest relative growth was registered for imports from Morocco (imports quintupled between 2009 and 2011) but absolute values remained relatively low.


Contribution of EU member states

Looking at the 2011 exports of motor cars by the individual EU countries, Germany alone was responsible for well more than half (60  per cent) of the EU total. The UK, ranking second, registered about a fifth of the German export value with a share of 13  per cent. In relative terms, meaning compared to their total extra-EU trade, exports of motor cars from countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania were fairly significant.

Most EU countries showed a considerable increase of motor cars exports between 2009 and 2011: exports grew particularly fast inCyprusandBulgaria, although their shares remain of minor importance. Conversely, the value of car exports showed a reduction in only three EU member states over the same period, Greece (-33 per cent), Finland (-13 per cent) and Malta (-11 per cent), while exports from Ireland remained nearly stable.

With a value of 7.7 billion euro, Germany’s share in total EU car imports was the most significant (32 per cent of the EU total), followed by Belgium and Italy, both with shares above 10  per cent. Looking at the development between 2009 and 2011, German imports displayed a continuous annual increase (11 per cent on average), with a sharp rise between 2010 and 2011. Luxembourg stands out as the EU member state where imports have experienced the most noticeable relative increase (34 per cent a year on average), followed by the Czech Republic (24 per cent).

Ten EU countries featured trade deficits in 2011, the largest were registered by the Netherlands, Italy and Slovenia, with values ranging between 400 million euro and 800 million euro.


Road vehicles

Road vehicles – cars and other motor vehicles, as well as cycles – represented 10 per cent (155.9 billion euro) of total extra-EU exports and three  per cent (51.4 billion euro) of total extra-EU imports in 2011. All subcategories of “road vehicles” generated trade surpluses except motor cycles and cycles, which accumulated a deficit of 3.7 billion euro.

“Motor cars and other motor vehicles” is the main category of road vehicles, with a share of about 60 per cent of exports and 77 per cent of imports. “Parts and accessories of motor vehicles” follows with shares of about 25 per cent.

In relative terms, two sectors are noteworthy: motor cycles and cycles are mainly imported (11  per cent of road vehicle imports), whereas “road vehicles, not elsewhere specified”, such as road tractors are mainly exported (four per cent of road vehicles exports), Eurostat said.

(Photo:  Graham Briggs/



The Sofia Globe staff

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