TOTAL vehicles sold in the nine months to September dipped by 26% to 3 261 from the same period last year as the motor industry takes a knock from the deteriorating economy.
CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER
In the same period last year, the total industry volume was 4 385.
Toyota sales dropped by 35% to 602 in the nine months to September down from 962 in the same period last year. Toyota Zimbabwe was the distributor.
Nissan sales dropped by 47,2% to 512. Nissan South Africa was the distributor.
Mercedes, Peugeot, Ford and Chevrolet models, among others, also recorded a drop in sales.
However Isuzu, jaguar, Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge sales firmed up during the period under review.
Isuzu vehicle sales jumped 49% to 383 from 157. Autoworld are distributors.
Jaguar vehicles, distributed by Premier Auto, recorded sales of 18 up from 15 last year.
The biggest jump was recorded by Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge — distributed by Zimo co — which recorded a sales growth of 82,6% to 84.
Last year, Zimoco sold 46 vehicles under the same category.
Motor industry experts say the decline in vehicle sales was expected in light of the unavailability of financing to buy vehicles.
As a result, analysts say, locals will resort to preowned cars from Japan and the UK which are affordable.
“To buy a new vehicle, you need to go to a bank or finance house to get funding. The challenge is that you need to pay 30% deposit and this means that if a car is sold for $18 000, you need to raise $6 000. This is beyond the reach of many who will resort to pre-owned vehicles,” an expert said.
He added: “In South Africa the payments are much lower so are the interest rates.”
He said preowned vehicles would in the end become affordable.
Experts say preowned vehicle imports were pushing out the business of selling new cars.
Last year, 60 000 grey imports were made compared to 7 000 new cars which were imported.
At its peak in 1997, demand for new vehicles reached 35 000.
Motor industry experts fear the increase in duty would have a bearing on sales.
In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa reviewed custom duty on single cab trucks of payload more than 800kg, but less than 1400kg to 40% from 20%.
Duty on double cab trucks was increased to 60% from 40%.
Passenger motor vehicles of engine capacity below 1 500cc — the favourite among the hard pressed Zimbabweans — would now attract a duty of 40% from 25%.
Chinamasa said the measure would protect local assemblers and reduce imports adding that vehicle imports accounted for 10% of the import bill in the period January to June.
The review is effective November 1.