ZIMBABWE has no business in assembling new cars as they are beyond the reach of locals that have resorted to grey imports, a motoring expert has said.
The country has witnessed an increase in used cars mainly from Japan and the United Kingdom which are affordable compared to new cars sold locally.
Nissan Clover Leaf Motors managing director Stanford Sibanda said a number of locals had low disposable income and hence couldn’t afford to buy new cars.
“They would have wanted to buy new cars, but the reality is that they don’t have disposable income,” he said.
Sibanda said 60 000 grey imports were made last year compared to 7 000 new cars which were imported.
“It shows that the market has shifted in the last three years. It’s about the economy. We have to sort it out, create employment and put meaningful money into people’s pockets. We need lines of credit to banks such that whoever wants to, can get reasonable interest rates,” he said.
“The people will be in a position to buy new cars and the shift to new cars will occur.”
It is estimated that in 1997, demand for new vehicles stood at 35 000.
Of that, 18 000 was supplied by the four assembly plants — Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry, Quest, WH Dahmer and Deven Engineering.
The demand for new vehicles contracted to an estimated 6 000 in 2011.
Demand for new vehicles continued to contract as more people resorted to pre-owned vehicles from Japan.
Meanwhile, Nissan Clover Leaf Motors has launched the new Nissan Qashqai model on the local market.
The car is a rival to Toyota’s RAV4, Hyundai’s Ix35, BMW’s X1, Land Rover’s Freelander and the Honda CR-V models. The car will sell at $38 000.
Sibanda said the new car targets ladies and middle level executives.
He said the company expects to sell between four or five cars per month.
The company, Sibanda said, was selling 40 Nissan cars per month.
At its peak in 1996-97, it used to sell 100 cars per month.