SA Car dealers close shop at border

Africa

Thupeyo Muleya

Several car dealers on the South African side of the border at Beitbridge have started closing shop or relocating to either Mozambique or Botswana due to low business, it has emerged.

Most people are reported to prefer other ports of entry, such as Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and Beira in Mozambique, for the shipping of pre-owned vehicles.

Sources in South Africa said more than 15 dealerships had folded while others were contemplating to move to other countries.

A sales manager at one of the biggest dealerships, Wright Cars, Mr Clemence Mabidi said where they used to sell over 40 vehicles daily they are now selling less than 20 weekly.

“Business is low my brother, some dealers have closed shop and moved to Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique,” he said.

“Though we have tried to run special offers the situation is not improving. According to the few clients who still come the payment of import duty in foreign currency is affecting their buying power.

“In addition, the car dealers are seeking new opportunities in other countries”.

Mr Mabidi said most people are now importing cars which consume less fuel as a result of the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

He said though some people are losing jobs at the car dealers some have started relocating with their employers.

Another car dealer said they had to reduce car prices to clear stocks.

An importer needs at least US$5,000 to US$15, 000 to import a vehicle. The amount is inclusive of buying and import duty. The duty is calculated at 96 percent of the buying price.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (Zimra) Acting Head Corporate Communications, Mrs Inzwirashe Chenai Muwonwa said recently that between January 1 and April 30 this year, they recorded 7092 vehicle imports and collected $25,102,896.34 in revenue.

She said last year they handled 11058 entries during the same period under review and received a total revenue of   $33,821,838.94.