Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 25 October 2015





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Emerging countries slowly opt for sustainable cars

Auto manufacturers have shifted priorities to not only meet emission standards, but also to keep up with government policies to improve air quality in each country. Fuel-efficient cars have not yet caught on in developing markets as fast as they have in Western markets but there is a slow, apparent change of car buyers going green globally.

Carmudi, the vehicle marketplace, analyzed millions of listings on the company's car classifieds website, and the data shows that auto demand worldwide, including Sri Lanka is shifting towards greener rides.

Carmudi found that countries in the Middle East such as UAE and Qatar are still in love with their SUVs. The number of eco-friendly car listings in the country stand at 5.8% and 1.88%, but green cars are slowly becoming a more attractive option for car buyers.

In Pakistan, green cars have also gained traction in recent years with the number of hybrid cars listed online growing 85 percent in the past two years, alongside a 17.48 percent slump in listings for petrol-fuelled cars in the country. This trend goes hand in hand with governmental policies to improve the country's air quality and cut carbon commissions in the coming decade.

In Sri Lanka, 43.5 percent of cars listed for sale are eco-friendly cars, and of them, 93 percent consist of hybrid cars. The hybrid car market in Sri Lanka is monopolized by vehicles such as Honda's Insight Hybrid and Toyota's Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive. Carmudi Sri Lanka also saw growth in the number of electric car listings, which grew four percent over the past 12 months.

This growth is at a much larger stage over the past few months as we see a surge in the sale of plug-in electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Despite the apparent shift towards green rides in Asia and the Middle East, countries in Africa have yet to jump on the bandwagon. Carmudi saw low percentages of eco-friendly cars listed for sale on the platform from West African countries such as Senegal (0.79%), Ghana (0.55%), Nigeria (0.37%), and Ivory Coast (0.26%). The slow adaptation can also be seen in East and Central African countries such as Cameroon (0.97%) and Tanzania (0.70%).

Will the emerging markets continue to grow more fond of environment-friendly cars? Carmudi predicts that motorheads in Africa will stick with gas-guzzling petrol-powered cars. In the Middle East, the eco-friendly trend will pick up in the coming years as many federal institutions across the region have begun to adopt electric or hybrid cars while motorists in Asia will most likely switch to greener and more economical rides in the near future.

Managing Director, Carmudi Sri Lanka, Firaz Markar said, "The Sri Lankan consumer has always been green automotive-friendly, largely due to the high cost of fuel and favourable regulatory terms bringing down the cost of green vehicles. While hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight started this surge, we have seen a dramatic growth in the sales of plug-in electric vehicles in recent months."

"Exceptional upfront cost savings, lower running costs, and also certain households moving to solar-powered energy are primary factors as we see it. We are well-poised to bring down national fossil fuel bills based on current automotive trends. It's great to see the acceptance of such modern technologies within an emerging market such as ours," he said.



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