Support for local assembly of vehicles needed

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With import restrictions and the severe dollar shortage crippling both essential and non-essential imports into the country, a senior businessman requested the Government for its cooperation in the production of locally assembled vehicles.

RIL Properties Chairman Sunil G Wijesinha said, “Given the urgent need for conserving foreign exchange, we cannot expect an easing on the restrictions on vehicle imports in the near future.”

“While we fully appreciate the validity of this policy decision, it must also be stressed that the country’s entrepreneurs must be supported to recover from this deep crisis,” he said.

“Therefore, we call on the regulatory authorities for their cooperation in the production of locally assembled vehicles, which is key to meeting the demand for high quality, new vehicles in the country,” he said.

Import restrictions due to the ban on vehicle imports, difficulty in opening LCs for spares and lubricants, increased freight costs, rupee depreciation and rapidly rising costs, constricted growth opportunities for the country’s automobile retail sector, said United Motors Group Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director Chanaka Yatawara.

According to him new vehicle registrations contracted to a mere 2,803 vehicles, from a high of 86,880 new vehicle sales in 2015/16.

“We believe that the commercial vehicle segment has a significant need for new trucks as most business’s logistic expansions of vehicle fleets have been made by buying used trucks at higher prices since the ban,” he said.

By Mario Andree