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#422882 - 11/22/11 08:41 AM 2011 Auto Show held over the weekend
Marty Offline

The 2011 Auto show was held this weekend. Most people would opt to buy a brand new vehicle as opposed to a used vehicle and for those with the money, or just the dream, the auto show featured brand new vehicles, from the most expensive to the less expensive. Pie Marin from Belize Diesel told us that due to the economy, there has been a significant decrease in sales of brand new vehicles. People are going for used ones as opposed to new ones. In fact, statistics show that there has been a 60 percent down turn in the purchasing of new cars.

Pie Marin, Belize Diesel
I can give you some statistics, for example in 2008, Belize Diesel sold about three-hundred fifty Toyotas and the overall market was eight-hundred fifty cars, meaning that all the new car dealers sold about eight-hundred fifty. From 2009 Ė 2011 the market has contracted to about three-hundred fifty new cars overall. So the dealers are selling much less and it is a sixty percent contraction and thatís because of the economic downturn, so the confidence level is down and people are saying that if they buy a new car and engage in a five year loan, will they still have a job in the next two years and will their business still be able to afford this and as you know everyone is cutting down expenses. So we think that the new car sales is a very good indicator of what is happening in the economy, because people will only buy new cars when the economy is good, but when itís bad that is the first thing that gets cut.

Marin says that even though the interest for the consumers has gone down, the interest rates for businesses still have not decreased. This has had an adverse effect on the industry and Marin says that GOB can do a lot to save the industry by lowering the import duties.

Pie Marin
The mark ups are high because the import duties are high, for instance for R4, you would be paying sixty-six percent to sixty-seven percent in taxes, so by the time you put a mark up on that it adds up. On a Land Cruiser, the duty is almost a hundred-thousand dollars which is eighty-eight percent. So what we are asking as an industry is to drop the duties to twenty percent and pickup trucks that are paying ten and take it up to twenty, but if that is not something that can be done in the short term, then in the short term we can get some type of exemption and fifty percent off the import duty now would help each dealer to sell, even though if they make a profit or donít make a profit at the end of the year, thatís up front. As to the staff, they pay income tax and social security so in every single way even the loan that you get from the Bank that pays duty the point government is getting money, so itís time for them to say ďListen guys for you to survive, Iíll give you something because if the industry strives and progress, Government gets more of the action.

Marin went on to say that with the current economic climate they are doing special promotions on the diesel vehicles.

Pie Marin
Well we are still promoting the diesel vehicles, the diesels are the ones that gives the best lineage. In our Toyota lineup, we have the Helix Diesel 2012 and we brought in this year the Pries, which is the Hybrid Electric car and that gives fifty miles per gallon. The taste of consumers are still the same; the people that are looking for a work vehicle are still looking at pickup trucks because itís better value for money and the pickup trucks only pay ten percent. The Prado is still our best seller, but we know that there has been a rise in the used car market, because people are looking at savings and we are introducing cars now that are for more affordable.


#422982 - 11/22/11 07:44 PM Re: 2011 Auto Show held over the weekend [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
from Lan Sluder.....

Some interesting (and sorta depressing) car stats from Belize Diesel:

* Total new car sales in Belize this year will be around 350 vehicles, down 60% from 2008 when around 850 vehicles were sold
* In 2008, Belize Diesel alone sold 350 new vehicles
* Taxes on some vehicles run up to 88% of value -- taxes on a Toyota Land Cruiser for example are near BZ$100,000
* Belize Diesel is seeking a reduction in import duties on new vehicles
* Toyota Prado is their best-seller
* Many new vehicle buyers are looking at diesel pickups, as they get higher mileage and pickups enjoy lower duties

Did note that the Prius (50 miles per gallon) is now available in Belize

#422988 - 11/22/11 08:57 PM Re: 2011 Auto Show held over the weekend [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
The smart move for the government would be to up the duty on luxury vehicles, vehicles over 5 years old and lower it on high fuel economy, hybrid and electric vehicles.

This would help to lower the demand for fuel guzzling high weight vehicles (high speed road beaters) and would make it more attractive for lower income buyers to purchase lighter weight efficient vehicles. It would also make unsafe beaters unattractive and improve safety on the roads.

It would take a cost to buyer analysis but at some point there should be an age limit on vehicles especially high mileage transport vehicles; something that would make it more attractive to owners to ditch unsafe older vehicles for newer, cheaper, safer and more efficient vehicles.

Whoops, sorry, I was daydreaming. Never gonna happen...

#423007 - 11/23/11 08:15 AM Re: 2011 Auto Show held over the weekend [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

New Car Sales Seriously Slowed By Sluggish Economy

Who doesn't want a new car, right? With streets and roads in their present condition - even if you have a new one, a year later, we'd bet its not so new.

And that's why fantasy festival like the annual auto show exist - because on days such as those - to borrow from the old saying - all beggars can ride.

And that's just what we did when we visited at the Bowen and Bowen Green on Saturday. Here's how it went:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
There was plenty bling to go around at this year's auto show - and the new car dealers had to put on as good a face as they could - the car market like everything else is down, down down:

Israel Pi Marin, Belize Diesel and Equipment Company
"New car sales is a very good indicator of what's happening in the economy because people will only buy new cars when the economy is good. When its bad thats the first thing that gets cut. For example in 2008 Belize Diesel sold about 350 Toyotas, the overall market was about 850 cars - meaning all the news car dealers sold 850. From 2009-2010-2011 the market has contracted about 350 new cars overall. So the dealers are selling much less. It's a 60% contraction."

And for Belize Diesel - which has now subsumed JMA motors - and emerges as a super-dealership with 7 lines - exciting the market means lower prices, cheaper vehicles, namely cars - such as this Hyundai Accent or the Sonata:

Israel Pi Marin
"We know that there has been a rise in the used car market because people are looking at savings and we are introducing cars now for example this car here is $32,000.00, so we are introducing cars that are more affordable."

Indeed the 1-1o is more affordable - and gives 45 miles per gallon with a miniscule three cylinder 1.1 liter engine also available on motorbikes and large lawnmowers, it should.

The car so unassuming and nondescript, It couldn't even get a name, just I-10. At 32 grand duty paid we thought it would be a cardboard car - wobbly and anemic, so I took it for a drive to see how it would hold up. My first surprise that I could even fit in the car - but apart from being surprisingly roomy, it was almost comfortable.

The car had surprising pep - for such a small engine and performed capably on bad roads - while I thought it might fall to pieces - it held the road - where there was really no road - and while I couldn't drift.

Just one look at the tiny engine made me shake my head that I even accelerated the way I did.

Jules Vasquez
"Boy, I am very pleasantly surprise."

This Harley Davidson motorbike had a larger and louder engine - and a far more fetching driver - and so it was, a mixed bag at this year's event where car dealers were trying to figure out what hook they can use to generate interest in a standoff-ish consumer market.

Toyota even offered the most interesting car in show the Prius Hybrid. With its space age console.

Israel Pi Marin
"It drives just like a car but because part of it is using electricity it gives you the gas mileage and the savings."

First of all when you start it - with the press of a button - the vehicle is on but there's no engine sound - it's fully electronic.

And then to put it in gear - I just adjusted this weird little knob, but had no idea I was in gear because there is no shift shock - and that's because there's really no gears, no transmission in any conventional sense, it's all electronics and sensors.

Out on the road it felt like a regular car, it had power - and that's because the engine kicked in and when I stepped into it as I did here - you can see the speedometer on the left - rapidly climbing.

At the end of my test drive, putting it in park, meant just pushing this button. Interesting, but affordable?

Jules Vasquez
"How would you answer the criticism that the markup on the vehicle is too high. For example if I wanted to buy a new Rav 4 in the United States, maybe it be maxed out $25,000 US. By the time I get that here with shipping and duty I can land it maybe for $70,000.00 maybe less and to buy a new one from you it would probably be in the low 90s. How do you answer that criticism?"

Israel Pi Marin
"Every business has to have a markup really and the cost of money for example while consumer lending might be at 11% corporate is still is at 15%-15.5%. We have to invest in parts, in training, in service, in facilities, in staff. For example Belize Diesel has a staff of 80 persons. So all that wage, all that back-end work has to come from somewhere. So the mark-ups are high because the import duties are high."

And now they are asking government to lower taxes on new cars as an incentive:

Israel Pi Marin
"It's time for government to say 'listen guys for you to survive, I'll give you something.' because if the industry survives and progress, government gets more of the action. Right now we are all suffering; even government is not getting the revenues that it should be getting from an industry like this. In 2008 government got about 25 million dollars from this industry. Last year and this year if they got 10 million that's a lot."

Whether government, which pays no duty on its fancy rides, will blink is left to be seen.

We note that not all the major dealers participated in this year's event.

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