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Bumpy ride expected for 2014

Brian Bonitto

Tuesday, January 07, 2014    

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HEADS of Jamaica's new- and used-car groups anticipate that 2014 will be a bumpy ride for their respective sectors.

Kent LaCroix, chairman of the new-car umbrella group — Automobile Dealers' Association (ADA) — said he does not foresee an increase in motor vehicle sales over last year's figure.

"I don't have the final figures at hand for 2013. However, I anticipate new-car sales to be flat or may decline," LaCroix told Auto.

Last year was very challenging for Jamaica's auto industry. A rapidly declining dollar coupled with the introduction of a customs administration fee by the government sent consumers digging deeper into their pockets to acquire a motor vehicle.

The taxes, according to the government, were geared to rake in $1.2 billion in taxes.

According to the chairman, his members had to be more creative in order to survive.

"We have had to put more emphasis on service and parts than on motor vehicle sales," he said.

LaCroix's used-car counterpart, Lynvalle Hamilton, said he does not expect more used vehicles to leave the lots when compared to last year's figures.

"We shouldn't do as well in 2014 as we did last year. But given the economy, I don't think we did badly overall," said Hamilton, president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers' Association (JUCDA).

While Hamilton said he did not have the final tally, he stated that 2013 sales dipped approximately 15 per cent while importation dipped five per cent.

The used-car group held an auto show in early December which helped to move some units.

"Currently, the dealers with cars on their lots shouldn't have a problem selling them. However, those who intend to import '09 and later models may have a challenge acquiring them due to cost, which will also be shared by the consumers."

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