Sri Lanka’s vehicle registrations in March rose 16 percent to 26,921 units over February, though the increase was mainly due to the less number of days and more holidays in February, according to a monthly analysis of vehicle registrations by research and stock brokerage firm, JB Securities Limited.
JB Securities Limited CEO Murtaza Jafferjee said, despite the increase, Sri Lanka’s vehicle registrations remained almost stagnant in March as the Year-on-Year basis growth of total vehicle registrations stood at mere 3.0 percent.
However, the analysis showed that many categories of vehicles including motor cars, three-wheelers and two-wheelers have recorded an increase in registrations during the month.
Motor car registrations were up by 208 units to 1,694 in March out of which brand new cars accounted for 552 and 1,142 pre-owned cars.
“Of the total,account for 894 units – 559 units from Toyota (Aqua and Prius) and 327 units from Honda (Fit),” the report noted.
Only 57 units of premium branded cars were registered in March, lower than in February (76) and a year ago (101).
“The only notable item to report is 4 Mercedes Benz 400s that have been registered. They could be CHOGM cars. They were initially offered at Rs.30 million, I am told the price has been dropped to Rs 25 million,” said Jafferjee.
Registration of SUVs too dropped to 333 units from 362 units in February. Among the brands registered were 53 units of Mitsubishi (30 Monteros), 103 Toyotas (63 Prado) and 47 units of Kia (41 Sorentos).
There were 146 vans registered in March, down from 150 in February and 273 units a year ago, seemingly due to extremely higher import taxes. “I reiterate that the government must reconsider the ridiculously high tariffs on vans, especially diesel that constitutes 300 percent,” he opined.
Meanwhile the three-wheeler category recorded 6,014 registrations, higher than February’s 5,264 but lower than 6,864 a year ago. Jafferjee believes this category has reached its saturation point.
“I am told that finance companies are experiencing stress in this segment, holding back credit and/or offering lower loan to value ratios,” he added.
Motorcycle registrations rose to15,965 in March against 13,717 in February.
“118 Yamaha 600cc motorbikes have been registered following 158 units in February – supposed to be bikes brought down for CHOGM,” he further said.
Meanwhile, despite the ‘finance share’ or the vehicles financed either by way of bank loan or leasing increased in motor cars, SUVs and two-wheelers from a year earlier. Jafferjee declined to associate it with the falling market rates.