Bulgaria is one of few countries in Eastern Europe that doesn't produce or assemble cars.
The reason for this is the lack of purchasing power by the local population - with an annual per capita income of less than $1,500 (1,778 Euro) most Bulgarians could not afford expensive cars.
Bulgaria's automotive fleet for its population of about 8.3 million is about 2.2 million vehicles, with the new car market share approximately 15% of this.
According to the UCIB (Union of Car Importers in Bulgaria), new car sales reached 4,897 units in the first five months this year, compared to 4,794 last year. There are no changes in new car sales compared to the past few years.
Daewoo leads, enjoying a market share of 13.8%. Peugeot is second (10.4%) and German Ford has a 9.3% market share.
In descending order the ranking from four to 10 is: Renault (8.7%), Citroen (7.3%), Skoda (6.9%), Opel (6.8%), Toyota (4.9%), Lada (3.8%) and Suzuki (3.5%).
After Bulgaria's 1997 financial crisis, new car sales that year were only 7,500 units. In 1998 new car sales almost doubled the previous year's amount at 12,196 units, mainly due to the newly established Currency Board and fixed exchange rate of the local currency.
The next year saw sales decrease to 11,948 units, and last year they increased by 9.3% — a record at 13,069 (including LCVs). (July/August 2001)