In a sign of the times the bulk of the few buying vehicles after the lifting of the vehicle ban have been civil servants using their vehicle quotas.
Car dealers in Thimphu and Phuntsholing told this paper that even though the vehicle ban had been lifted after two years the orders being placed for vehicles almost two months after the lifting of the ban is still below normal.
A car dealer said, “We expected a bigger rush for few months at least since people did not have access to cars for two years but the response has been below expectations on account of the high vehicle taxes. It would have been worse but the saving grace is the quota for civil servants which are now being used.”
Around 3,000 plus civil servants would be eligible for vehicle quotas.
Once of the most popular vehicle dealer Zimdra has only seen around 50 to 60 bookings till date since the ban was lifted in July 2014. A Zimdra official has that under normal circumstances the numbers would be more than double. Zimdra meanwhile had rehired around 10 of its staff it
earlier had to let go after the vehicle ban. Other vehicle outlets have also started hiring or re-hiring staff.
In the case of Hyundai the figures are slightly better with under 100 bookings made so far in various range of vehicles like 1 10, Eon and Santro. A Hyundai official said that majority of the customers were those with civil servant quotas.
In the case of Honda there have been only 9 orders of which six are Honda City and three for Honda Amaze.
In the case of STCBL two orders have been placed for Toyota Land Cruisers while five orders have been placed for Toyota Prados. There have been some enquiries.
STCBL’s Tata head office in Phuntsholing recorded around 50 orders for various categories of vehicles including Trucks and Buses. Motor vehicles for transport attract less taxes ranging from only 10 percent to 35 percent.
Another Tata showroom in Thimphu separate had around 15 orders mainly of pickup trucks and Buses.
According to car dealers they expect that the situation will improve once vehicle loans are allowed.