South African car dealers at the Beitbridge Border Post have started reducing prices of pre-owned vehicles from Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom as they battle to clear huge stocks caused by low business. Major dealers such as Quest Royal, Wright Cars, Autonet, Kumura Motors, Jakes Auto and KDG had by Friday last week reduced prices of old stock tocreate space for stocks from Durban.It is understood other car dealers have reduced prices to meet their obligations with the South African Revenue Authority (SARS) to sell the vehicles within 12 months. One of the car dealers said yesterday that in the event that they violated the conditions of the bond with SARS, they were fined R20 000 per vehicle.
Wright Cars sales manager Mr Clemence Mabidi said they had drastically reduced the prices of vehicle models such as Nissan March, Toyota Ipsum, Mazda Demio, Nissan X-trail, Toyora Runnx, Voxy, Volvo F80, Toyota Passo, Toyota Nadia and Mazda Atenza. “Business is very low these days after Zimra increased import duty to around 96 percent,” said Mr Mabidi. “This has resulted in a fall in the demand for cars while at the same time we want to meet our bond conditions with SARS,” he said.
“We also want to clear old stock so that we can bring in new stocks from Durban. Business is relatively low as compared to the previous years.” Mr Mabidi said they were selling an average of four vehicles per day as compared to 40 in the previous months. He said many car importers now prefered to use less busy ports of entry such as Kazungula, Plumtree and Chirundu to avoid pressure at Beitbridge Border Post.
A customs official at Beitbridge said though prices of vehicles had fallen on the South African side of the border, duty tariffs were still the same. “We are calculating duty on all imported vehicles using prices on our national catalogue,” said the official. Zimra’s director of legal and corporate affairs Mrs Florence Jambwa confirmed that vehicle imports through Beitbridge had fallen since the beginning of September.
“Vehicle imports have generally decreased in September as compared to August,” he said. “Between 1 and 14 September, we processed 610 car imports, a decrease when compared to the same period in August where a total of 864 vehicles were cleared.” Mrs Jambwa said at the moment they were processing between 31 and 65 vehicles per day compared to between 32 and 133 vehicles in August.
Cars sales started declining after Finance and Economic Development Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa increased surtax from 25 percent to 35 percent on second-hand light passenger motor vehicles aged more than five years from the date of manufacture and the time of importation.