Jamaican automotive dealers are still faced with massive challenges brought on by COVID-19. However, there are hopes that things will be better this year.
Lynvalle Hamilton, president of the Jamaica Used-Car Dealers' Association (JUCDA), said people are importing vehicles without licences and competing with legitimate dealerships.
“We had a recent meeting with the trade board and we raised it and reminded them that it still exists. But, we now have a new minister [Senator Aubyn Hill] and we are seeing some semblance of a turnaround,” he said.
The used-car dealers' spokesman said he is happy that the Government is not planning anymore lockdowns of the economy, which would encourage more people to resume their normal activities.
He said that used-car dealers are affected, however, by the rapidly increasing freight rates for transporting the vehicles to Jamaica, especially as the rates will reflect in increased costs for the vehicles.
However, he said he is hoping that the country has experienced what he would like to think is the final COVID-19 variant, and Jamaicans will settle down this year to a more normal and healthy lifestyle.
Kent LaCroix, chairman of the new-car umbrella group, Auto Dealers' Association, had an optimistic view for 2022.
“I think that the outlook for this year should be a tick above what we did last year. But there are other things; the cost of freight, for example, that is detrimental to the cars, in terms of the price that one has to pay for the duties that is based on the freight charge,” he said.
“But we expect this year to be better than the last.”