Historic sales record in Morocco, driven by fleet market
2016 will have been an exceptional year for the Moroccan automotive and fleet market. The sector is on its way to a historic sales record. The figure of 160,000 units sold by the end of December will easily be reached, against an average of 120,000 over the past 10 years.
This will be considered as an exceptional sales performance. Behind this renewed interest in cars are the Motor Show in Casablanca in May, non-stop promotions throughout the whole of the year, substantial discounts on prices, very attractive finance solutions extended guarantees, optimised after-sales service, along with options such as reversing radar, navigation systems, alloy wheels and even metallic paint, offered free of charge. The renewed healthy state of the new car market can also be explained by the arrival of a middle class which has supported property loans and a generation of young executives who desire to have the means to move about. The removal of taxes on imports from Europe has also had a favourable impact on the availability of several ranges of passenger cars. In other words, the cost of acquiring a vehicle has considerably reduced over recent years. If it weren’t for freight and logistics charges allied to imports and to consolidation, the price differential would have been considerably reduced.
Fleet market on the rise
It is quite clear of course that the long term rental market and above all company fleets, have played their part in this sales euphoria. The company sector has now become aware of the opportunities in externalising car fleet management. This has translated into facilitated acquisition and fleet renewal, with a better quality-price ratio.
The expected trend for 2017 is that fleet purchases are going to rocket, particularly with the arrival of chauffeur-driven services, such as Uber. The arrival of new concepts in car rental may lead to an economic model (‘uberization’) which will encourage permanent deals with regard to the importer-distributor segment. Where company fleets are concerned, in 2017 company cars will logically respond less to considerations of luxury or even to whims, but more to concerns of functionality and of the practical side of the vehicle. To be quite clear, company heads will tend to give up their top of the range and premium models in favour of more accessible and less ostentatious versions (Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Skoda, Honda…) instead of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Maserati… This goes along with a more mature consumer, who wishes to move from a price-driven market to one allied to performance and to lower fuel consumption (ecology) with hybrid, less polluting and less expensive models.
At the end of 2016, it is the Renault Morocco group which leads the market and which occupies first and second places (Dacia and Renault respectively). The French manufacturer claims the largest market share with an average of 39% to 40%. Ford comes next with 11% of the market. The enlarged range on offer from the American company has had much to do with this, with the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Kuga. Volkswagen is in fourth place with a share of 8%, and Peugeot in fifth. Peugeot has climbed from a long way back following operational changes (the departure of former MD Loïc Morin and the arrival of Amine Souheil as deputy DG). This latter has been able to boost sales by repositioning prices and by encouraging finance with the arrival of new, more attractive products (Peugeot 2008 and 3008).
The implementation of scrappage incentives for taxis has also boosted sales. This has breathed new life into the importer-distributors which have been able to develop ranges aimed at taxis (7-seats) with air conditioning, safety equipment, more comfort and aesthetics, along with lower CO2 emissions. This programme will continue in 2017 and is set to give a further boost to sales from dealers.