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Motor boom

Vehicle imports roar by 215% to Rs. 117b in 2010 from Rs. 37 b in 2009

Recording a boom year for vehicle imports 2010 saw a whopping increase of 215% totalling Rs.117 billion of new conveyances on Sri Lankan roads.  

According to a study compiled by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) analysing vehicle imports to Sri Lanka the vehicle import market is experiencing rapid growth following the revision of import duty structure.

It noted that in 2010 the value of imports recorded an unprecedented growth of 215% increasing from Rs. 37 billion in 2009 to Rs.117 billion in 2010.  India continues to dominate the Sri Lankan vehicle import market with a share of over 50% followed by Japan accounting for 30%.
“The demand for small vehicles is robust. In terms of quantity imported, motor cycles and auto trishaws surpass all other types of vehicles. Each year Sri Lanka imports over 100,000 motorcycles (of engine capacity 50 cc-250 cc),” the report said adding that in 2010 the number of motor cycles imported showed exceptional growth of 97% and for the first time the number imported exceeded 200,000.  Sri Lanka imports nearly 40,000 auto trishaws each year, but in 2010, the numbers grew by 194% with import of a record number of over 80,000 auto trishaws (petrol). There is an increase in demand for diesel auto trishaws in 2010 as well, which recorded a phenomenal growth of 427%, starting of course from a low base of over 1000 trishaws in 2009 to over 7000 in 2010.
Unsurprisingly, small passenger cars (of engine capacity less than 1000 cc) are also in big demand. The number imported in 2010 exceeded 12,000. The demand for small vehicles for the transport of goods (g.v.w. below 5 tonnes) is also on the rise and in 2010 recorded a growth rate of 480%. Reflecting the rapid growth in the agriculture sector, the agriculture tractors imported in 2010 recorded a growth of 152%.
“India continues to dominate the market for small vehicles. Japan still retains its position when it comes to vehicles with higher engine capacity. For example Japan accounts for over 80% of the vehicle market for passenger vehicles with an engine capacity between 1000-1500 cc.
However, South Korea has overtaken Japan in supplying passenger vehicles with an engine capacity between 1500 cc to 2000 cc in 2010 accounting for over 60% of imports,” it said.
The publication provides a detailed breakdown of vehicle imports to Sri Lanka by type of vehicle, the value, the number and the country of origin for the period 2005-2010. It gives valuable insight into the vehicle import market in Sri Lanka and will be of interest to vehicle importers, insurance companies, leasing companies and banks.

Hybrid hype

Over 400 cars imported in 2010 at a cost of around Rs.1 billion; more new models with better technology to hit the roads with prices dropping

By Uditha Jayasinghe
Hybrids are becoming ever popular with 2010 statistics showing that over 400 cars have been imported last year costing over a billion rupees.
A study on vehicle imports conducted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) showed that in 2010, 406 hybrid cars were brought into the country. This was for the engine category 1000cc-1500cc, which also had Japan dominating with 63% and Germany trailing behind with 22%.
These vehicle imports were done at a cost of Rs.908 million.  In the engine category 2000cc-3000cc there were only 29 vehicles imported at a cost of Rs.72 million.  Here Japan emerged as a clear favourite with 97% of people preferring Toyota.  It is impossible to get the data for the preceding years for comparison because the Customs Department only started making the distinction between hybrids and other cars from 2010.

This in itself is a clear indication of the growing popularity of hybrids.
However, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles as well as the Motor Traffic Department has not yet started categorising hybrid cars. So far they retain the old categorising by simply maintaining the distinction between diesel and petrol cars without noting the number of hybrid cars that are registered. This has led to confusion over exactly how many hybrid cars were imported during the last few years and when the first car was brought down.       
Dealers responding to calls from the Daily FT remarked that the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have become the most popular brands with buyers having the shell out anywhere between Rs.2.5 million –Rs.5 million for a recent model. The most popular amount for a model manufactured in 2009 or 2010 appeared to be around Rs.3.3 million and growing awareness of the cars has brought down prices.
Another contribution is the reduction of duty on hybrid cars by the government. In the Budget 2010 duty was reduced to around 15% resulting in prices dipping strongly. Informed sources observed that a hybrid that was sold for around Rs.6 million in 2008 reduced to half its price in 2010.
The number of companies issuing hybrids is expected to increase with premier brands such as BMW, Benz and Porsche revealing their hybrid models into the market.    


Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 @ 09:08:14 LKT


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