There are few nations that have as close a relationship with the United States as Israel. However, political alliances don’t necessarily translate into aftermarket sales opportunities for automotive parts and accessories.
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Israel, a relatively small automotive market compared to others in the region, isn’t particularly friendly to U.S. automotive exports. The exception to this might be in the military and para-military sector. So, while there are limited opportunities to export, the Israeli aftermarket itself isn’t very large.
Israel is slightly larger than New Jersey in size, but it’s population, at approximately 8 million people, is slightly less than the Garden State’s. The population demographics skew a bit younger, with 81 percent of the population being 55 and under. And with a life expectancy of 82.4 years, Israel ranks eleventh in the world in the longevity of its residents. (The U.S. ranks 42nd).
Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $300 billion in 2016 was good enough to land 57th in the world, placing it just ahead of Greece, Hungary and Denmark. It’s 2016 economic growth rate of 2.8 percent improved from the year earlier 2.5 percent. The Israeli economy is driven by its high tech and bio-medical research industries. Tourism and agriculture are also vital parts of the Israeli economy.
The Israeli automotive market is rather robust. The 10-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) has been 5.2 percent. That slightly lags the Middle East region which saw a CAGR of 7.1 percent. Sales in 2016 grew 12.5 percent from 2015, exceeding all expectations.
The market, as of 2015, stood at nearly 3 million vehicles in operation. The fastest growing segment, according to Israeli government statistics, is private passenger vehicles, which increased by nearly 1 million units from 10 years earlier. Private passenger cars represent 83.6 percent of the total vehicle parc. The balance of the market is split amongst trucks (10.4 percent), motorcycles (4.1 percent). Buses, taxis and specialty vehicles make up the remainder.
Israel has an incredibly diverse vehicle population, with 46 different brands and 301 different models sold in 2016. There are, of course, a few perennial market leaders.