Despite Georgia is not a car manufacturer, in the second decade of the 21st century auto exports value exceeded $ 4.4 billion and led among Georgia’s top export commodities. The industry is 100% made on re-export basis.
In 2001-2004, vehicles re-exports were not systemic and were counted in units. Its share in total exports was less than 0.6%. The business has been growing since 2005 and peaked in 2012-2013. If in 2004 the total re-export stood at $ 3.8 million, in 2005 it increased to $ 18 million, in 2008 - $ 133 million, in 2012 - $ 587 million, and in 2013 - to $ 704 million. In this period car exports exceeded 24%.
In 2011-2020 the total exports amounted to $ 27.9 billion. In the reporting period, the total value of re-exports of passenger cars was $4.419 billion and made 15.8% of total exports. Copper ores re-export with $ 3.437 billion is in the second place and accounts for 12.3% of total exports. In 10 years Georgia has exported ferroalloys worth $ 2.605 billion and wine worth $ 1.438 billion or 5.2% of total exports. In the fifth place with 1.234 billion is nut export as well as exports of medicines, mineral fertilizers and alcoholic spirits.
Car exports started to decline in 2014 and will decrease to $ 179 million in 2015. In 2019, exports exceeded the $ 700 million mark and broke the $ 732 million record, but its share of exports fell to 19.3%. As for a $ 456 million decline in the total exports in 2020, auto exports fell the most by $ 329 million.
There are many reasons for both the decline and growth. Until 2014, the main export market was Azerbaijan, followed by Armenia. In 2014-2015, Azerbaijan banned the import of cars made before 2005, later the excise tax was increased and oil prices fell by half. In 2015, Azerbaijan’s economy grew by only 1%, in 2016 it shrank by 3%. All this reduced the purchasing power in the country and negatively affected Georgia. It was a period when Armenia joined the Eurasian Union and the amended economic legislation hiked in price the cars that were not made in Russia.
In 2019, car exports returned to top level, but in 2020, due to the economic crisis caused by pandemic and COVID regulations, it moved again to the second place. A significant decline was observed in terms of Armenia - in 2019 total exports to Armenia amounted to $ 433 million, in 2020 - $ 188 million.