Buying a new Saab here in Australia is pretty expensive given the distance the cars have to travel to get here and their perceived place in the market. But we have a pretty decent standard of living and each year, around 1,500 to 2,000 of our residents or businesses manage to take a new one home. In the US and the UK incomes and markets are even bigger and the cars are comparatively cheaper (especially in the US).
In Australia, where I’ll take an educated guess that the average yearly income is around A$50,000, a Saab 9-5 costs around $57,000 in it’s most basic trim and continues on to over A$82,000 for the 9-5 Aero. In basic trim that’s about 1.14 times an average yearly income.
I’ll let you figure out the numbers for your own countries and maybe you’d like to post them in comments. You can read on for the numbers from Hungary.
The following information was passed on from Ivan in Hungary, where some investment has been made in ethanol plants recently in the hope that it’ll advance the industry, improve some conditions and give people some access to flex-fuel as E85 is taxed at a much more favourable rate than gasoline, at least for the next few years anyway.
Ivan’s provided a translated text of an article on E85 in Hungary. As I read the whole email I found myself feeling (1) pretty thankful for being fortunate enough to live in a comfortable country like Oz, (2) hopeful that rebuilding countries like Hungary can make it work, and (3) admiring of Saabnuts that tough it out in all sorts of places around the world.
There is a article in one of the leading Hungarian newspapers called Magyar Hírlap.
I have sent a raw translation, sorry for my english.
Some background informations:
1. Hungary has a high capacity for agriculture but after the changes in 1989 it fell to a crisis because of the loss of former communist markets and the European Union limitations. To grow plants for producing bioethanol is a big chance for the farmers to break through these walls. Traditionally we are big producers of maize and corn and the cost of producing the E85 could be very competitive. A Swedish company has invested to build 5 bioethanol production factories in Hungary. If they could produce the Ethanol with full capacity, Hungary could became the second (or maybe the first!) biggest bioethanol producer in Europe, and as far as I know we will be in the first five of the world.
2. The revenue tax content of the petrol price is extremely high currently in Hungary and the petrol is quite expensive.
3. The average monthly salary in Hungary is net HUF 120,000 (about USD 545 or EUR 444). The Saab BioPower is HUF 8,800,000. If we suppose that half of this income he/she has to spend for costs of living, he/she has to work for 12 years to buy a new Saab. Of course, there are bank loans and leasings. The down payment is usually at least 20% and the bank lending rates are about 7-20% depending on the loan period.
I hope the article could be new and useful information for you.
The article translation:
The biofuel could explode also in Hungary
Pulling down the legal barriers to sell E85 is approaching.
Sales of E85 could get off to a flying start because the Parliament decided to allow it’s trading revenue tax free.
The car industry is heavily promoting the E85 for the fuel companies to convince them that it’s worthwhile to sell it.
The Ministry of Economy and the Hungarian Standard Organization are at the last stage to sign a contract to make the new standard for E85. Without the standard it is not possible to use any of the new fuel in cars.
A small detail in the new tax law passed through the parliament at Monday has more importance. It declares that until the year 2012 only the 15% petrol content of the E85 is to be taxed. Practically, it means that the this fuel produced from maize, corn, sugar, or vine (which are overproduced in Hungary) could be almost tax free. The exact scheduling will be declared in an another law.
Experts said that it could be enough to make the price competitive compared to the petrol. Currently the cost of producing E85 without supports is almost twice more than the costs of producing petrol while the retail prices are similar. However, the European Committee count on the decreasing of the cost of producing E85 to the half till 2010 thanks to the intensively growing production capacity and the competition on the market. Four years after they expect a HUF 110-113 /liter production cost while the unleaded petrol cost is about HUF 100/liter currently.
According to the opinion of International Energy Agency the current price of E85 could be competitive if the price of oil is over 60 dollars/barrel.
However, the extension of the bio fuel unfortunately limited because they are just a few cars on the market able to use the E85 and these cars are relatively expensive for the Hungarian customers. Among the big multis there is GM owned Swedish Saab, Volvo and DaimlerChrysler sell bioethanol cars.
The Saab for instance, has a version of the premium 9-5 which is more powerful using E85 than using petrol. The Hungarian headquarter of Saab said that they sell 8-10 pieces of 9-5 by month and they sold even 5 pieces of BioPower in Hungary as well. (The buyer is the Swedish company invested to the bioethanol production plants.)
The price of basic model is HUF 8.800.000 and the BioPower is just a bit more expensive.
Car magazines estimated the costs of conversion petrol cars to E85 to HUF 30.000-100.000. These conversions are not radical: for instance the Saab 9-5 BioPower has only different electronic engine control, alcohol-tolerating fuel supply system and higher thermal tolerance valves.
Currently the petrol station networks are not really enthusiastic to sell E85. They have technical difficulties because all systems at the stations should be dewatered before they can install the new filling column for the E85.
Zsolt Müller, sales director of Shell Hungary told that it’s more realistic that only a few stations would specialized to the new fuel than to sale it on every stations. As far as we know, Mol (the market leader Hungarian oil company) don’t plan to sell E85 at all, even they want to became the regional leader of selling bio-diesel fuel.
The power of big car manufacturer companies could be enough to get over the technical difficulties. The management of GM Central-Europe makes big efforts to convince one of the big petrol station networks to sell E85.