THE Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe (MIAZ) says the influx of cheap pre-owned imports mainly from Asia and lack of support mechanisms from government have blighted the sector with a paltry 3 500 sales expected this year.
MIAZ president Benjamin Kumalo said pre-owned vehicles were expected to surpass 60 000 units this year, considering that local consumers now preferred second-hand imports to locally manufactured vehicles because of the price differences.
“Since 2009 to date, we have been handling between 5 000 and 7 000 new vehicles per year, but this year would be the worst handling – 3 500 new vehicles,” Kumalo said.
“The sector has performed dismally in the first half of the year due to the poor performance of the economy as well as liquidity challenges. This year the total market for new vehicles should be 3 500 and this would be the worst year ever for the automotive industry. This is mainly due to liquidity challenges and lack of long term credit and the high interest rates being charged in this market,” he said.
During the country’s peak period 25 000 new vehicles were sold annually.
Statistics from MIAZ shows that between 2010 and 2011 the total new vehicles market grew by over 88%.
However, the increase in the volume of traffic has had a negative effect on the road infrastructure, leading to a sharp increase in roads wear out and accidents.
Meanwhile, Kumalo urged the government to introduce flexibility on the issue of ethanol blending as it would cost some customers more as cars were not compatible with higher ethanol blend ratios.