‘Import tax - no issue for vehicle sales’

At the Audi Q2 launch in Colombo last week. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe
At the Audi Q2 launch in Colombo last week. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe

The high import tax on vehicles will not deter sales which has been quite solid, said Audi Sri Lanka Director Rajieve Fernando at the launch of Audi Q2 range cars at its showroom in Colombo last week.

“Sale volumes will not drop but rather pick up with brands such as Audi which is sought after the world over,” Fernando said. According to an official, the company hopes to sell 100 units by the end of this year despite tough economic conditions in the country.

“We have already received orders for eight cars of the 20 which have arrived. We hope to reach a satisfactory sales volume in the coming years,” Fernando said. However, vehicle merchants said the staggering import duty neither benefits the government nor the importers whose sales keep plummeting.

“There has to be a win-win situation in the trade. By jacking up taxes the country loses, as imports decline and sales slump. If the argument of policymakers is to ease congestion and save on fuel imports, it should focus on planning a better road network and cut down on waste,” a vehicle importer said. While the price of vehicles with an engine capacity below 1000cc has shot up considerably those above 1800cc to 2000cc has gone up by a staggering rate following the 2017 Budget revisions. The duty on electric cars was reduced by 11.5 percent and the duty on hybrid vehicles up to 1800 cc was not revised. However, the duty on three-wheelers was increased by Rs. 50,000. When queried how the new range would stand above the rest of the SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles), Fernando said style and design will do the talking. “The Audi Q2 is sporty, youthful and stylish.

The well designed interior and exterior, a powerful engine and ample boot space and leg room makes the car special,” he said.

Audi, Ducati and Lamborghini are some of the brands of the German automobile company. - LF 

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