Auto

KIG unveils 2011 Impreza models

• GM lashes gov’t for high import duties

BY PATRICK FOSTER Observer writer fosterp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 04, 2011    

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KINGSTON Industrial Garage (KIG) Wednesday unveiled its latest Subaru models, the 2011 Impreza WRX STI and Impreza XV, two impressive vehicles aimed at almost opposite segments of the market.

Speaking at the introduction held at KIG’s Spanish Town Road showroom, general manager Hugh Blake joined the long list of industry players chiding Government for its insensitivity towards the local auto industry.

Blake placed the primary reason for the high costs to purchase motor vehicles squarely at the feet of government.

“It is most important that our consumers know that the high price they pay for motor vehicles in Jamaica is largely because of Government’s burdensome duties,” said Blake.

The KIG boss charged that the Jamaican Government collected between 63 per cent and 177 per cent, up front, on the importation of motor vehicles, making even the simplest of economy cars unaffordable to consumers.

“This is an untenable situation in a most important industry,” said Blake. “This level of duty is immoral to say the least.”

Emphasising that the local auto industry was experiencing a 30 per cent decline, Blake noted that Government charged the highest duty rate in the Caribbean region.

Business leaders, including those in the auto industry, have repeatedly called for a revision of the import duty policy arguing that lower rates would result in greater compliance and revenue for Government.

Blake Wednesday contended that given the downturn in auto sales the natural instinct of sensible businesses was to “tighten margins and review operating costs whilst fiercely competing for every dollar of sales.”

“Unfortunately,” said Blake, “Government doesn’t operate like businesses and despite the drastic downturn in the industry and economy the motor vehicle import duties in Jamaica have remained among the highest for any country in the region and perhaps the world.”

In the meantime, KIG’s most recent Subaru siblings excite based on pricing and performance.

The WRX sedan ably keeps the STI rally pedigree with features mindful of target market to which it is aimed. Think six-speed manual shift.

At 300 horsepower topping at 260kph the all-wheel drive WRX STI offers a vehicle adjust system that puts the driver firmly in charge.

Sitting behind its 2.5 litre, four-cylinder, turbo-charged engine the driver, using a differential control can switch power from front to back depending on terrain and surface condition.

“It comes standard with a 41/59 front to rear split but you can adjust if you want more power to the front, especially for rally drivers,” Andrew Jardine KIG service manager explained.

In addition, driving modes are selected from Intelligent, Sport, or Sharp-sport on a console between the front seats.

“That controls the throttle response and acceleration,” said Jardine.

The Impreza WRX STI is priced at $7.5 million.

And while the Impreza XV has many of the driving and safety features of its sister model, such as traction control and the like, it is minus the turbo and differential control of the WRX.

The XV, a crossover is equipped with a 2.0 litre fourcylinder engine and is priced at a competitive $3.75 million.

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