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Earthquakes, blockade take toll on automobile sales

Earthquakes, blockade take toll on automobile sales

KATHMANDU: Registration of new vehicles fell by 12.87 percent in the first eight months of Fiscal Year 2015/16, as the earthquakes and Indian blockade took toll on automobile sales.

Statistics of Department of Transport Management (DoTM) shows altogether 147,782 units of vehicles were registered with transport management offices across the country in the review period compared to 169,613 units in the same period of 2014/15.

Automobile registration fell in almost all the segments. Data shows registration of two-wheelers fell by 13.26 percent to 123,373 units compared to 142,241 units in the first seven months of 2014/15. Similarly, registration of vehicles in bus segment fell by 10.52 percent. Registration of vehicles in minibus/mini truck, microbus, and crane/dozer/excavator/truck segments posted negative growths of 17 percent, 78 percent and 29.26 percent, respectively.

However, registration of vehicles in car/jeep/van segment bucked the trend, as it logged growth of 16.68 percent. Altogether 10,867 units of car/jeep/van were registered in the first eight months of 2015/16, compared to 9,054 units in the same period of 2014/15.

Registration of new vehicles had increased by 25 percent to 239,583 units in 2014/15.

According to DoTM, a total of 2.14 million units of vehicles have been registered in the country so far.

Dealers say automobile sales fell by around 30 percent in 2015. “It was a bad year for the industry. There were some months when not a single vehicle was imported into the country because of border obstructions,” Anjan Shrestha, president of Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), told Republica. “The industry, which posted 25 percent growth in 2014, is estimated to have contracted by 30 percent in 2015.”

Shambhu Dahal, CEO of Sipradi Trading – the authorized distributor of Tata vehicles in Nepal – echoed Shrestha. “People did not purchase new vehicles during the blockade as the market was suffering severe fuel shortage,” he added.

Automobile dealers, however, are hopeful that their business will bounce back in 2016. “Sale has improved from the very first month of 2016. Automobile sale has returned to pre-quake level,” added Dahal.

NADA President Shrestha said he expects to see 30 percent growth in 2016. “We have seen political stability with the end of the blockade in the beginning of 2016. This will definitely make positive impact on sales,” he added.