Thousands of unsold cars are suddenly piling up on the docks at Drammen, Norway’s largest entry port for vehicles. Car dealers report a significant decline in sales in June, and think it can hit 20 percent by the end of the year.
The decline applies especially to the most expensive electric SUVs. Some blame higher interest rates on car loans, others that Norwegians are simply tightening their belts as prices keep rising and interests rates likely will, too.
Around 13,000 new cars are now parked at both Drammen Harbour and nearby Lierstranda. Harbour officials say they haven’t seen anything like it since the finance crisis in 2008.
“Import levels remained high the first four-to five months of the year, but now there’s a solid decline,” harbour director Arne Fosen told state broadcaster NRK. Dealers also placed lots of orders late last year to avoid increases in taxes and fees that took effect this year, while used car sales have added to the market. It all adds up to another economic indicator of tougher times, even among those who earlier were able to afford luxury cars like Porsche, which is now laying off staff in Norway.