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Foreign-used car dealers fear death of industry
Already hurting from slow business over the past two years, the T&T Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA) believe the latest proposals by the Ministry of Trade would see the death of the industry and thousands of job losses. Visham Babwah, president of the TTADA said the industry has shrunk by 75 per cent over the past two years because of the economy, increased prices, the quota system and the reallocation of payment of motor vehicle taxes in September 2008. But now, Babwah claims, the Government is proposing a system of de-registering and re-registering dealers with a quota system. He said the Government plans to take these proposals before the Parliament next month. The de-registration proposal, he said, is designed to take business away from the “small man” and put used car dealership in the hands of large conglomerates.
He made these comments at a news conference at Mulchan Seuchan Road, Chaguanas on Saturday morning. Babwah said the TTADA wants the Government to increase the age of a used vehicles from four to six years as a solution to the price and environmental problems. He pointed out that a four- to six-year-old vehicle burns fuel at the same rate of a new car. Further a six-year-old vehicle would cost consumers as much as 30 per cent less than a four year-old vehicle. Babwah said Government is also proposing that dealers contribute to a mandatory compensation fund to pay consumers that have been cheated by bogus dealers. This fund, he said, runs the risk of creating more bogus dealers on market.
As far as he’s concerned, new car dealers should also be made to contribute to a compensation fund because there are consumers, in the recent past, who have complained about getting raw deals from new car dealers. Babwah said the Ministry of Trade has no system in place for the protection and guidance of both registered dealers and personal importers for vehicles bought from any nation with the exception of Japan. Registered dealers, he claimed, are being held responsible for the inefficiency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who have failed to implement proper age verification systems for vehicles imported out of Singapore.
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