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Equal treatment

Importers of used cars call for same rebates as new car companies

Importers of reconditioned vehicles have welcomed Government’s removal of two conditions governing their imports, but they also want the same tax rebates as those granted to new car companies.

According to a Government Information Service release this afternoon, the Ministry of Commerce has abolished the condition that “each importer must be the authorized distributor/dealer for the make of the vehicle imported, in order to safeguard the consumer against difficulties in obtaining spare parts and efficient after sales services”.

The second condition that has been removed is that “each importer must maintain an adequate stock of genuine spare parts to service the vehicle and have technically trained staff capable of carrying out efficient repairs”.

Owner of EDM Sales, Eillene Clarke, and Peter Phillips of A. McDonald and Sons told Barbados TODAY the removal of the two conditions was a good thing for the industry.

“This is something that should have been done a long time ago. [But] I would have to wait and see; it sounds too good to be true,” declared Phillips.

Both he and Clarke, however, lamented that the playing field was still not level.

“We had a lot of people in the industry over the years who have been speaking to Government – both [political] parties actually. There are a number of things they wanted Government to do, and one of them really, which I don’t think they even looked at, was getting the same concessions given to the new car dealers . . . it is still lopsided,” Phillips said.

“They did do something as far as the environmental levy was concerned, where new and used cars paid the same thing. I think they [new car dealers] get a substantial rebate which we don’t get. When you look at it closely, the Government makes more revenue off a used imported car out of Japan than what they make on a new car, because of the substantial rebates they give to new car importers.”

Clarke expressed similar sentiments.

“Because the new cars get rebates in terms of their taxes . . . their tax rates are less than the used cars, and you’re talking about a used vehicle as opposed to a brand new vehicle which you still have to make sure [is] in pristine or as pristine condition as possible when you sell to a customer,” she argued.

“But this is one of the things we would love, or really welcome . . . if discussions could be had on that with the powers that be, to see where they could assist us, especially in these times where people are looking for less expensive cars. So if this is something the Government could have some sort of discussion with us, we would surely appreciate that,” she added, noting that savings in the cost of doing business would be passed on to the consumer.

Owner/director of Bargain Motors, Bertrand Jones said while some people might like the removal of the conditions, it did not matter to him.

With respect to the removal of the requirement to stock genuine parts, Jones said his company always did and, as far as no longer being mandated to be the authorized distributor/dealer of the make of vehicle imported, he told this newspaper this condition only related to new vehicles.

“Used car dealers can bring in any brand car. It is the new car dealers that can’t,” he asserted.

Meantime, Cabinet has also agreed to review the policy relating to the importation of antique and vintage cars.

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