Sri Lanka car dealers hold prices to reduce inventory

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s car dealers offered pre-budget prices Sunday despite finance minister sharply raising taxes across the board for all vehicles except motor homes, helium-powered blimps and hydrogen fuel cell prototypes.

"Pre-budget price for all vehicle," said an advertisement in Sunday’s Hit Ad by C.S. Car Sale offering small and mid-size Japanese made cars as well as high-end luxury SUVs.

Speed Motors of Kirulapone said there was still some time to beat the budget and was accepting advances on four-wheel drive Nissan X-Trail SUV’s it had ordered before the finance minister’s announcement.

The vehicles were expected to arrive on December 10, and qualified for pre-budget taxes as order had been placed before the budget.

Nissan Leaf electric cars are being slapped with an additional tax of LKR 2.2 million after the budget, but existing stocks were stil being offered at the old price. New Asiri Lanka advertised the 2014 Leaf for LKR 3.4 million.

Several dealers said new stocks may not be that much higher as Sri Lanka’s tax increase had led to a fall in Japanese second hand car prices in the face of depressed demand.

Ashocars Japan of Kandy said they could still offer the smaller Suzuki Wagon R at LKR 2.8 million and the 2014 Honda Grace at LKR 4.9 million, slightly more, but far less than what was feared after the budget.

DIMO, which is better known for their luxury Mercedes-Benz marque, was selling their less glamorous 1,200 cc Tata e-XETA at the old price of LKR 1.79 million, but with a warning that new stocks will be sold at LKR 3.28 million, that is  if anyone has the courage to buy it. The sweetener  is that Dimo is offering free 24-hour road side assistance.  (COLOMBO, November 29, 2015)

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