Barbadians have not been rushing in droves to purchase new vehicles despite the scrapping from July 1 of the much-hated National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), according to one local dealer.
Margaret Hoyte, the customer service experience and service manager at McEnearney Quality Inc (MQI) today said while the company has recorded a slight increase in sales over the past month, customers have not been driven to spend money on new vehicles.
“With the NSRL gone prices have dropped a little but I think people are still a little cautious. We are seeing the market growing but I think what is happening is a little more confidence is coming in the economy and I think people are changing their pattern of spending,” she told reporters at the presentation of Mazda 3 cars to Party Monarch King Mikey and Sweet Soca Lil Rick.
“With the NSRL gone, we have seen the prices of cars come down. We have had for instances, the Kia Sportage, the NSRL had pushed that into a whole other tax bracket . . . [and] although there is a reduction in price unless you can make that monthly payment affordable it is going to be difficult for some persons,” Hoyte said.
Hoyte noted that in the future the company would seek a way to attract more customers with an affordable monthly package, which should attract additional sales.
“Well for most persons who are purchasing big items like guest homes and cars it is all about the monthly payment. That is what makes it affordable and I think that once we can continue with our partners Consolidated Finance and the banks to come up with good deals I think that makes a lot of difference in the long run, she said.
One of the markets the MQI is targeting is that for electric vehicles, which Hoyte admitted was costly.
However, she said “they are the future” and the interest in these vehicles was rising.
“We do not have any, but electric cars are the future and we are now having conversation with our suppliers to make sure that we are in the market with those type of vehicles,” she said.
“Yes, they are expensive; yes, you get concessions from your duties and so on, but they are expensive. But I think if you look at the market a lot of people are introducing them. They are being sold on the secondhand market – people are buying them – but I think that people are now educating themselves about these vehicles to make sure that if they get can get on board with them, they will,” she added.
Not all car distributors are interested in importing electric cars with Nassco’s Sales Director Roger Moore stating that unless the duties on the vehicles were lowered it was illogical for distributors to import them.
“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 last month. (LG)