The total market for automotive parts and accessories (HS 87.08) into Sweden was worth US$ 11.9 billion in 2008.
Generally, Sweden offers a good market for high-quality and technically sophisticated automotive equipment.
The best sales prospects exist for products within the safety and environment sectors. Swedes are very safety conscious and Swedish automotive manufacturers are known to follow high safety standards. Products and technology for alternative energy is another area with good prospects. Swedish government and Swedish industry have both committed to lowering CO2 emissions through promoting and commercializing hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles.
The import duties are relatively low and vary between 3 and 5 percent for most automotive parts and accessories. The Commercial Service is available to counsel and assist exporters interested in the Swedish market.
Sweden, with a population of about 9 million, had 4.3 million cars in 2008. This corresponds to one car to every 2.2 people. The number of commercial vehicles was 524,000.
The motor vehicle industry plays a central role in the Swedish economy. The four Swedish automotive manufacturers, including suppliers to the industry, employ about 140,000 people. Swedish cars are fairly old compared to many Western Europe countries. Four out of ten cars in the Swedish car population are older than 10 years.
In January 2009 there were in total 198,500 environmental cars in Sweden. The proportion of environmental cars has increased considerably during the last few years, from 5 percent of all newly registered cars in 2005 to 33.3 percent in 2008. One explanation of this increase is that there have been various financial incentives from the Swedish government to encourage people to buy environmental cars.
The majority of the environmental car fleet is ethanol cars (68 percent). There have been recent concerns as to whether ethanol is the best type of fuel to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from the transport sector. Other vehicle technologies like diesel, hybrid, electric and fuel cells cars may be better ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore the technology to produce energy efficient cars is becoming even more interesting. Plug-in hybrids is an area which is considered to have good prospects in Sweden.
About 35 percent of new registrations of private cars had diesel engines. The proportion of sold diesel cars has increased, from 9.7 percent of all newly registered cars in 2005 to 36.2 percent in 2008. The increase is due to the reduced vehicle tax on diesel cars and the broader range of models available. The number of diesel cars in Sweden is relatively modest compared to the remainder of Western Europe where 53 percent of new registrations in 2008 were diesels.
By Hakan Vidal