A lack of interest in electric vehicles has forced at least one car dealer to put the brakes on the importation and sale of these vehicles, with others likely to follow, one dealer said.
Sales Director of NASSCO Limited Roger Moore said it took the company about two years to sell the last two hybrid vehicles that it had in store, as he blamed high taxes for the more than sluggish sales.
Importers of electric vehicles pay taxes equal to 100 per cent of the value of the car, and of the over 100,000 cars on the island’s roads, only about 300 are electric.
Moore said unless Government reviews the tax a lot more car dealers could also find it difficult to import electric or hybrid vehicles.
“Unless they do something with the duties I am afraid that a lot of distributors will not be able to afford to purchase those vehicles because it makes no sense to purchase then having them in your showroom and can’t get them sold,” Moore said at the introduction of the new Toyota Rush at the company’s River Road, St Michael showroom.
“It is something that the new administration would now have to look at and I am sure that they will because they have indicated that they want to go in that direction too. They want to go green. It is good for the environment, so I think they will definitely look at it and will do it soon,” he stressed.
NASSCO carried three lines of hybrid vehicles, which Moore said sold “very well” when they were first introduced into the local market.
However, he said increased taxes, compounded by the introduction of the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), “really pushed the cost up very high so a lot of people then were not in a position to purchase the vehicles”.
“We had the last three or four for almost two years before we got them sold. And since then we have not really gone into the hybrid vehicles anymore,” he said, adding that car manufacturers were eager to increase sales of those vehicles in the Caribbean.
“I guess that is something that will happen down the road. As I said, if Government don’t do anything about the duties on those vehicles I don’t think we will be able to purchase them,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Moore said he was hopeful that car sales would increase with the July 1 removal of the NSRL, following a decline in sales for the first six months of the year.
“All of us are expecting that the removal of the NSRL would mean that we would sell a lot more vehicles because so far for the year we have not done very well because a lot of people were in election mode,” he said.
However, he said over the past two weeks there had been an increase in foot traffic since the removal of the NSRL took effect, and he was hopeful the trend would continue, and result in more sales.
“We have not yet seen it in sales but we are sure that with the launch of the Rush today we will definitely see an improvement in our sales going forward and in another two or three months we will definitely see some better results,” he said.