Last year, sales of top-of-the-range cars in the Balearics increased by only 1.3%, the three preceding years having registered increases in sales of up to 47%. In all, 34,632 new cars were bought last year. This was up by only 1.6% and was below the national average figure of seven per cent. Of these cars, fewer than 4,000 were in the high-end bracket.
The most popular brand in 2018 was Audi, which accounted for 1,117 sales, down on the 1,146 in 2017. Sales of BMWs fell from 811 to 750, Land Rover from 243 to 194 and Porsche from 81 to 70. The biggest rise in sales was that for Jeep - up to 401 from 185. Volvo increased to 152 from 119 and Jaguar to 57 from 46.
Antoni Riera, director of the Fundació Impulsa Balears (the private-public initiative for boosting Balearic business and competitiveness), believes that the sales figures point to a general slowdown in consumer buying, while financial incentive schemes to stimulate the purchase of new cars have come to an end.
Riera also suggests that consumers have changed their attitudes to debt. Before the economic crisis, households were running up high levels of debt repayment. They are no longer doing so. Despite improvements to the economy and employment, there have been increasing household costs that are deterring purchases like cars.
The Faconauto dealers' association, which has published the sales figures, believes that a "negative climate" created by government policies is also depressing sales. There is uncertainty, such as that surrounding diesel cars. Climate change legislation will prohibit new diesel vehicles entering the Balearics from 2025. Meanwhile, sales are falling.