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Used car dealers increase even as sales underperform

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Despite an increase in the number of players in the sector, the used car market saw a decrease in the number of vehicles imported for January to December 2014, closing the period at 11,350 vehicles, down from the previous year's 11,800.

Sales were also negatively impacted by decreased consumer spend, leaving dealers with inventories "that are moving too slow for comfort," president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association (JUCDA), Lynvalle Hamilton, said at the association's annual general meeting in Kingston last week.

Just 8,513 or 75 per cent of the imported vehicles were sold, Hamilton said, even as he complained of the impact of "a battered economy" on the sector.

The membership of JUCDA, however, grew to 120, up from 87 in the previous year.

Additionally, the industry continues to look to Japan as its main source of imports for used vehicles with 10,347 vehicles shipped to Jamaica from the Asian suppliers, he said.

"The weakening of the yen has caused the prices of many vehicles in Japan suddenly to be much less than they were worth a few months ago," Hamilton said, adding that the industry could see a further boost in imports if the prevailing conditions last throughout the year.

"This could be one of the better years that the industry sees in a long time," he said.

Import Policy issue

Meanwhile, JUCDA continued to register its grouse over the Revised Motor Vehicle Import Policy (RMVIP) as it waits for contentious sections of the policy to be revised.

The RMVIP came into effect last April, but the dealers complain that the warranty they are now required to extend to consumers will add to their cost of operations.

"If the warranty that we now offer is to be extended by 300 per cent, to include electrical and front end parts - as is being proposed - it cannot be without significant increase, which the consumer would bear," Hamilton said.