PRAGUE -- Czech new car registrations were up 8.4 percent in the first six months of the year, confirming signs of this year's recovery in the market, the Car Importers' Association said on Thursday.
Czechs registered 67,110 new passenger cars in the period, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, while light utility vehicle registrations jumped 32.3 percent to 17,294.
This was mainly due to a legal change which encourages people to register passenger cars with appropriate modifications as utility vehicles to limit their tax burden.
"The long-lasting drop in Czech car sales has stopped but there were over 200,000 cars sold in 1997 and since then we did not come closer to that figure," said Richard Kopecny, the head of the association.
Many Czechs still prefer cheaper used cars imported from western Europe. SDA said that due to this the Czech Republic lags behind not just EU standards but also neighboring Hungary.
The association added that the ratio of new cars to overall registered vehicles stood at four percent last year compared with eight percent in the Union.
Domestic maker Skoda Auto, a unit of Volkswagen AG, remained the most popular brand, although its passenger car sales dipped 0.2 percent to 30,200 cars, for a 45 percent market share.