Last December witnessed the highest monthly vehicle registrations under most categories for the 2014 calendar year, according to statistics compiled by JB Securities (Pvt) Ltd.
“The duty reductions in the budget in October catalysed the huge surge in imports,” JB Securities CEO Murtaza Jafferjee said.Totally, 4,222 motor cars were registered, almost doubling from 2,419 in November and 1,800 in December 2013 (yoy). Brand new motor car registrations tripled to 1,851 from 672 units in November and 569 yoy. Small car (1000cc) registrations grew to 1,421 from 481 units in November and 244 yoy. Maruti recorded 1,013 units, with 838 Altos, followed by Micro with 386 registrations. The pre-owned car segment increased to 2,371 units, up from 1,747 in November and 1,231 units yoy. Toyota, claiming the majority of the pre-owned cars, increased to 1,553 with 696 Aqua, 407 Axio and 329 Prius units. Honda followed with 766 registrations, with 725 of those being Fits.
An all time high financing share of 63.8 percent was recorded, indicative of credit flowing into cars. The premium segment recorded 98 units, up from 61 in November and 90 yoy. Mercedes maintained the lead with 40 registrations, breaking down into 24 C class, 6 E class and 10 S class units. BMW registrations fell to 12 from 32 yoy. SUVs and crossover registrations increased to 1,599 from 1,369 units in November and 580 yoy.
Honda Vezel dominated the segment with 1,288 registrations, up from 1,122 units in November and none yoy. Mitsubishi recorded 89 units mainly through 68 Outlanders, while 70 Toyotas, 33 of them Prados were included.A record financing share of 66 percent was observed, mainly through Vezels.
Hybrid car and SUV registrations grew to 3,642 from 2,864 units in November and 860 yoy with 2,053 Hondas and 1,461 Toyotas, while 10 electric cars, mainly Nissan Leafs were also recorded. Van registrations increased to 462 from 186 Nov and 182 yoy with Toyota Hiace accounting for 248 of the total.
“Finally the ubiquitous school/staff transport vehicle is getting a much needed upgrade.
The reduction in duty rates and cheaper Japanese yen has increased the affordability of these vehicles,” Jafferjee said. Three-wheeler registrations increased to 7,569 compared to 6,917 in November and 5,873 yoy. Bajaj claimed 88.4 percent of the market with Piaggio and TVS following with 6.8 percent and 4.7 percent respectively. The financing share was 92.4 percent. Two-wheeler registrations declined marginally to 37,286 from 38,539 in November up from 13,906 yoy, with a financing share of 28.4 percent.
Jafferjee said that the numbers reflected the previous government’s purchase to provide subsidized motorbikes to government employees.
He added that a drop of 15,000 units monthly could be seen going forward due to some of the normal demand being met by this program. Pickup truck registrations boomed to 728 from 261 in November and 88 yoy.
A government order for 1,000 Mitsubishi L200s, funded through Bank of Ceylon leases contributed with 412 deliveries, while Tata registrations contributed another 214.
Mini truck registrations increased to 1,238 compared to 1,022 November and 1,021 yoy, while lite trucks saw an increase to 336 from 250 in November but down from 408 yoy.
Medium trucks recorded 211 units, up from 173 in November and 187 yoy, while heavy trucks increased to 179 registrations from 127 in November and 130 yoy. Financing share was 52.5 percent, likely pointing to a large institutional or government purchase. Bus registrations also saw an increase to 639 compared to 506 in Nov and 108 yoy. The financing share was a mere 32.4 percent, indicative of government purchases as well. Jafferjee said that traffic on the road is going out of control due to the increase of vehicles from cheaper cost of ownership and cheaper fuel.
“It’s probable that fuel prices will be reduced as per election promises, and the problem will get worse. We urgently need to implement a road tax and/ or congestion tax to make it expensive for private vehicles to be on the roads during peak hours in congested locations in the greater Colombo region,” he said.