AMTEL: Importance of cars even clearer now

Rush hour traffic on Pirita Road.
Rush hour traffic on Pirita Road. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Arno Sillat, CEO of the Estonian Vehicle Dealers and Services Association (AMTEL), said that car sales have largely remained the same compared to last year and that the importance of owning a car has become more obvious after the coronavirus pandemic.

Sillat explained the situation on Estonia's and the European Union's car markets on Vikerraadio's news show "Uudis+", saying that sales in June were similar to sales in previous years. He also said a trend can be seen where people want to make the purchases they could not make during the pandemic.

Sillat noted: "We can not see any structural changes - that different kinds of cars are bought or less driving is done. On the contrary, the pandemic showed us that it is too early too call cars obsolete as a means of transport or mobility. They are irreplaceable at times like this."

Sillat said that compared to the Great Recession of 2009, the markets were balanced during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "It was a relatively small crisis economically. Back then (in 2009 - ed.), factories were producing but there was nowhere to put the produce. Markets were balanced this time. As supply dropped, so did production."

The CEO of AMTEL could not bring out any differences in preferences among makes and models. Toyota, Škoda and Kia remain the most popular new cars in Estonia. Toyota is also the most popular make of car in Finland, according to Sillat.

Sillat said the drop in diesel prices has not made Estonians turn to diesel engines. He expressed concern that most cars sold in Estonia have petrol engines, which emit more CO2 than cars with diesel, electric and gas engines.

He explained: "The movement against diesel engines, which has actually given an opposite effect - it has not been more environmentally friendly - that kind of thinking has also reached us. At the same time, diesel engines are effective and a better solution than petrol when it comes to CO2 emissions."

Sillat is not concerned about a second wave of COVID-19. "Manufacturers will not preventively suspend production. That would demolish one of the main components of capitalism, if we thought that way. If it comes (a second wave - ed.), we will react."

Sillat concluded: "Of course, if a large production country has infections and is restricted, that means disturbances in EU markets. /.../ Security of supply is thought of nowadays. If we have no crisis but those who supply us do, where can we acquire alternatives. /.../ It is this large global system and there are always alternatives to solutions because otherwise the whole system could stop because of a small bolt."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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