Economic woes hold back car sales before budget

Car sales have not picked up this year before the announcement of the national budget, very unlike of the previous years, because of economic slowdown the country has witnessed since the first half of the current financial year 2013-14 over political unrest centring January 5 national elections, said industry people. According to sellers, they witnessed an increase in car sales before the announcement of the national budget in June in recent years as the government in almost every year increased tax on the luxury item.
‘We hoped that the sales might increase ahead of the budget like other years; but it has been very slow for last several months,’ Shahin Mahmud, manager of Hawlader Cars at Kakrail, told New Age on Saturday.
He said the economic condition of the people was not good to buy luxury items.
‘Due to the political violence of last year business is dull in every industry. So as the people have less money, they tend to spend on basic needs,’ Mahmud said.
Hasan Al Amin, sales executive of Pacific Car Centre at Bijoy Nagar, told New Age that only two cars had been sold from his showroom in May.
‘On an average we sell 3 to 4 cars a month for last one year. But the market did not turn up before this year’s budget,’ he said.
Al Amin also said the prolonged disruption in business activities amid political violence centring the national elections affected the market.
When asked why people were not buying cars even after a number of cars being destroyed during the election-centred violence, he replied, ‘The owners would be able to tell that, but we can just say that they (the affected car owners) did not replace the destroyed cars with new ones.’
Kawsar Hamid, managing director of Karib Autos at Naya Paltan, however, said his sales improved a bit over last few weeks.
‘We have sold more in recent times compared to the first half of the financial year,’ he said.
Asked about the issue, Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association president Habib Ullah Dawn told New Age that market turned very slow for the last few weeks.
‘The car market was somewhat okay in last few months compared to the first half of the current financial year, but it slowed down over last three weeks,’ he said.
Dawn said there was speculation about the tax hike on the item in the coming budget. ‘But that has not lured people to buy cars before the budget this time like previous years,’ he said.
‘The price is already very high due to the high tax. If the government increases it again, then it will be out of reach of most of the people,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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