Auto distributors defend their position on used cars



Registered auto distributors in Antigua and Barbuda are expressing concerns which ought not to be taken lightly. Many of these businesses have consistently made invaluable inputs to national development and assisting with providing such things as employment opportunities, sponsorship, and other useful services or resources that have benefitted both individual clients and the general country.

For the most part, counter-positions by registered used car dealers have tended to maximize on cost-savings while allowing for cherished freedoms to exist in the car market. The law of supply and demand have been extended generously to used car dealers, and private citizens. It is this latter point that has caused major concern for the registered auto distributors and should attract the attention of others. These entities are fully aware that the prevailing situation demands state intervention, perhaps at multiple levels. Proactive support for the registered auto distributors is necessary for engendering commercial activities which cause minimal fallout to registered importers of used vehicles.

Against a need to meet the operating standards of the international manufactures while paying the appropriate taxes, duties, and fees to the Government, the registered auto distributors are fully on board with any fair system that would likely produce win-win outcomes for all stakeholders. This is precisely why advocacy and clarity must abound in the public arena. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda needs to revisit several of the issues under its remit and evaluate the circumstances which bring into the foreground concerns over regulations and the effects of operating costs for one group as compared with the diminished taxes and operating costs for used car importers.

Furthermore, it is the contention of the registered auto distributors that besides the issue of badly skewed operating costs, there are areas of limited or no regulation that are being exploited by registered and individual used car importers. This does have the additional implication of damaging the state’s capacity to effectively facilitate an enabling environment through which the registered distributors can thrive.

Undoubtedly, without a reasonably level playing-field, the losses that are accruing in the local industry are antithetical to a robust industry and an environmentally friendly society. It is imperative that cooperation exists among all parties, namely the registered auto distributors, importers of used vehicles, private citizens, and the Government so that the local auto industry market can be kept to minimal fallout, and manageable proportions.

In other CARICOM countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, and Barbados, these governments have offered some protectionist mechanisms for the auto distributors. Innovative tools and consensus among the parties allow for certainty and the avoidance of the development of a black market. Surely, there is no call for a total ban on used vehicles, but the Government must do more to limit the impulse of self-interested individuals and the registered used car importers to revel in vehicles whose very parts are readily unavailable or obsolete.

Many of the entities import the used vehicles, especially from Japan. The various levies and fees that are applied to used vehicles escape the more onerous costs associated with the new cars, although the new cars are technologically more efficient, and their emissions are much cleaner. Out of fairness to the local industry, the legal measures that were introduced in the fore-mentioned islands are to safeguard important things such as the environment and the physical landscapes in those countries.

With the unavailability of spare parts for most of the vehicles older than seven years, the eventual disposal of those used vehicles is a definite problematic. It is not unusual to see many older cars left alongside roadways or permanently abandoned elsewhere. Generally, the dumping of old cars has become a visible scourge and, the practice has been known to attract rodents and other health hazards. Yet, the disparity between the legal and other accompanying requirements for the registered auto distributors and the used car dealers is crippling. The encouragement for investments and other expansive enterprises is setback to the local commercial atmosphere.

Lastly, should the Government take a predetermined position to overlook the obvious and serious concerns raised by the auto distributors and which are nationalistic in orientation, would be regrettable. A worthwhile proposition would be to bring representatives for the all parties and stakeholders in a forum for forthright discussions. Both fairness and understanding must prevail, and no single entity ought to be pushed aside or asked to bear undue burden. A win-win conclusion is possible, but the relevant information must guide discussions.

The fact is, all sides can present reasonable and justifiable arguments for better regulation and a shared market that works to our mutual benefits while safeguarding the local environment. As the policymaker and ultimate decisionmaker, it is in the public’s interest that the Government encourages clarity on the issues before proceeding to accede one way or the other; or make any attempt at legislative changes despite the needed urgency on the matter. It is the national interest that calls for fair-mindedness to prevail. The circumstances are easily suggestive that the current situation is untenable and unsustainable for national development; they are certainly not conducive to the benefit of all stakeholders nor to a public demanding satisfaction.

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  1. Stop complaining and find a new strategy to deal with the competition!! For years y’all have been charging “house and land” prices. Now that there is another option available to the people are you vex. Well “who bex dead” according to a famous calypso.

  2. Could not read all lol hey free up the market give duty free the government makes more money when everyone owns a car ,as a poor man i bought a Chevrolet aveo for 41,000 yes and this was 1 year before the abst withing a year the car started to rot all over when we told the dealer they said they knew about and would have to change off all the doors and do body works on it member now it was a new car…..anyway they took just about the 5 years to change them because they believe the warranty would be up them time,the parts started to rot again when it was told to them they told us the warranty was up although these parts was just less than a year we just left it although we could have fought this case we just left it in the hands of the most high,because i know they could not get 1 more cent ever from us.

  3. Make cars mode affordable and sure we will buy them. Until then I don’t see a problem. The rich take your children and yourselves to the 102,000.00 vehicles while the poor like myself buy the 10,000.00 to 25,000.00 recon cars. So I do not have to eat Ramon Noddles to pay off my car loan for 7 years with interest. Wicked set ah people.

  4. I can understand the environmental concern put forward by the dealers, so I would go as far as to say that there needs to be some form if regulation on the importation of very old vehicles.

    My suggestion that there should be a heavy levy on anything over 5 years. Or over 80,000 miles.

    But at the same wine, the local car dealers have been giving the local people a raw deal.

    You being your cheap inferior cars here for sale at top dollar. And if you don’t understand what I mean, I’m saying you’d bring a basic car here for sale on the market, and then try to sell at a price which reflects the to model in another market. You’ve been raping the people’s pockets for far too long. So if there’s too be regulation on the importation of used vehicles, which I wholly support, they’re should be regulations on you also!

    Talk like you’re all righteous, but you guys are a part of the same dam problem. You created, through your greed, the importation market.

  5. I have yet to see one valid point raised by the New Car Dealers. Everthing said about parts availability of used cars from Japan applies to used cars sold by the Dealers. Everyone is able to source parts online, from auto junkyards and parts dealers.
    It was mentioned that they give generously to many events. It is the same argument telecommunications companies used to keep their inflated rates. Banks too are doing the same thing. Regardless of contributions and sponsorship from New Car Dealers, the profits do not justify the mrans.
    In every island, large segment of the population will NEVER be able to purchase a new vehicle. A used car from Japan, 10 years old, is far better than any the same age from Antigua. A Nissan Cube cost less than $9,000 from Japan to a home in Antigua. For that cost, the person gets a vehicle that is mechanically sound and cosmetically excellent. For many, this is the next best option to getting a new vehicle.
    As to the question of warranty for new vehicles, that is not a consideration as the same-BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK applies to ALL used vehicles, whether from Antigua or Japan.
    I am not convinced that the New Car Dealers are not doing well. For the past two years, the Nissan Frontier has been a resounding success. In fact, double cab pickups have been selling very well, despite the average cost of $130,000. We all know that the person who can meet monthly payments of $2000 is in a “good and secure” job. Such a person is not the office clerk who gets $2000 a month and needs a reliable vehicle to drop her child to school and get to work on time.
    The government’s stake in WIOC works against the New Dealers as every extra gallon purchased is real MONEY for the Treasuary. The more cars on the road, the larger the fuel profits and licencing fees. Even from a political perspective, many grateful first time vehicle owners reward the assistance in ways that mattered.
    At the end of the day, New Car Dealers must realise that “Pandora’s Box” is now open, and they too must make permanent changes. They may have to re-deploy staff, offer sure-selling models, extend payment times, reduce the loan prerequisites, and ask for tax / duty concessions from the government.
    I am patiently awaiting serious and plausible arguments, supported by empirical accounts, from the New Car Dealers.

  6. The used car market needs to be controlled also along with the used Tyres. They create more harm than good to the environment. Invest your money wisely. Buy new and improved our environment for.

    • Tups! You think people working for a 6 figure salary. People buy what they can afford. These car dealers like u don’t give a carp about poor people. You work in collabration with these damn wicked banks by selling those infireior cars at ridicluious price an when you out of this world monthly payment is due and u cant collect u send to reposses the car. Give me a break.

  7. Govt should exit itself from private matters. There is now a steel factory on island. And govt does charge a disposal fee on imported vehicles. Umm use that fee to pick them cars up and sell it to the steel factory. Win win.

    For the new car dealers. Please publish ya financial report. How much do u buy a new car for. The cost associated with import , taxes and final sale price.

  8. I do not see any problem the government should not get involve in this issue. Once we have mechanics and auto repair technicians and parts can be sourced online it’s a none issue.
    Check Cuba and see vintage cars. Life of car is not predetermined. The absurdity of their super profit agenda on the backs of the working class is sickening

  9. If the car dealers are interested in the environment why not give generously to environmental groups donate some Babbage trucks to cbh provide the resources for reforestation of Antigua provide technical assistance to tackle the snail and Cuban frog infestation. Stop talking and show us that you care about our environment not how you can sell cars. By the way the grade of new cars that comes to Antigua is an inferior quality to what goes to developed countries.

  10. Used cars is a higher grade vehicle than the New cars they are selling. Used cars were specifically built for first world countries while new cars were built for third world countries. People start to do the research we will not be bullied by these super profit ticks. How is it possible that a new car dealers can give a discount of $5000.00 what is their profit margins that allows this. Eyes wide open government should keep out more of the population is now benefiting small business is thriving customs brokers shipping clearers of vehicles car washers gas stations. To stop this would be to slow the velocity of cash. Keep out of this fight government it is.not yours let the New car dealers reinvent them selves and become relevant

  11. After buying a vehicle from the dealer you spend minimum 5yrs paying for it at which they say bring it to them to service which they change parts that really dont need to change and give you a high bill for more than what your paying them monthly. Bear in mind u can’t drop the ball on your payment. After finally making the last payment they. Email/ text/ call you saying a newer model is in the lot so come in and trade the older one and continue eating corn beef for a next 5-8 years. (Not even corn beef that to have risen significantly) but ramin noodle #godblessthatman.
    A used vehicle last longer than a new car and don’t talk about payment because u can buy cash or borrow from the bank n pay off that loan in 2 years (depending on amnt borrowed). More money is being made by the government since people have freedom to buy. Just look at the road work being carried out on two of the major roads in antigua, do you think that if freedom wasn’t their that these roads would’ve develop anytime soon?
    Government can’t find jobs for people so now the average guy can become a business owner namely opening a car wash, service / parts center, tire repair shop.
    Just look at the gas stations, when I pass am wondering if gas price goin up in the morning or the country running out of gas due to the amount of cars lined up to get gas.
    Yes traffic is rediculous, here is where the government needs to step in and development needs to take place (as mentioned above). Create diversion roads, cut a road from the beginning of airport fence to connect piggots road with airport road so that traffic can flow better into the city and airport. Move the stop lights and put round a bouts. Do you realise when lights are not working traffic is not backed up?????
    People that’s getting paid big money ain’t doing no work. Seems to me the money they making blocking their vision. Cut their big salary and invest in the country. Come on we all live here.

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