“Visibility remains low for the local car industry. The market will most likely see a rebound in its sluggish sales as late as in second quarter 2010, and at a modest rate. But other sectors, such a real estate and financial will lead the way towards an economic revival – and all these sectors have an indirect influence in the car market”, said Kanonopoulos.

New car sales in Romania fell 54% in the first nine months this year, to 101,770 cars. “We believe the car market will stand below 120,000 units this year, which means a 55% drop year-on-year”, Kanonopoulos added.

Subaru Motors Trading, official dealer of Subaru in Romania is in advanced talks with potential partners to expand activity.

“Unfortunately, the car maker suffered severely from the economic crisis we are now facing. Sluggish sales have frozen or put off the majority of projects scheduled for this year or 2010. We are of course in talks with potential partners, but at this point, we are waiting to see how the economy will manage to get back on track”, said the representative of Subaru Motors Trading.

For the year, Subaru dealer expects the turnover to stand below 2008 level. Last year, Subaru Motors Trading reported turnover of €16.6 million and profit of €450,000, according to the financial statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Finance.

“For 2009, we expect the turnover to be lower than last year. We do feel the effects of the crisis, same as the car market at large. It is too early to make predictions on year-end turnover, considering that we have recently rolled out two new models that we expect to be well-received by our customers”, Kanonopoulos pointed out.

Subaru sold this year 300 cars in Romania. Forester topped year-to-date sales, and most of the cars sold were on diesel. “For next year, our objective is to bring our market share in Romania closer to Subaru’s European branches”.

In 2008, Subaru sold 670 cars in Romania, 61% more than in 2007.