Kathmandu, June 28
Though it is too early to be certain whether or not the new taxi permits issued by the government is a boon for domestic transport sector and earthquake victims, it has definitely given momentum to automobile sales, as domestic auto dealers have started recording brisk bookings for new cabs.
Automobile dealers said that they have been flooded with queries and are recording good number of bookings for cabs after the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) started registration process of new taxis from June 22.
The DoTM last week had issued new taxi permits to 1,500 quake victims of 14 hardest hit districts through lucky draw over three days.
Among others, CG Motocorp — the authorised distributor of Maruti Suzuki four-wheelers for Nepal — has received 200 bookings for its Maruti Suzuki Alto, a compact hatchback car.
“All the booked Altos are being purchased through financing and are being processed,” informed Uttam Gupta, senior manager of CG Motocorp, adding that the sales of Alto will definitely boost the overall sales figure of Suzuki vehicles over the next few months.
Moreover, CG Motocorp has set a target to sell at least 1,000 Suzuki Altos to quake victims who have received the new taxi permit in the coming days. The company is selling Alto starting from Rs 1.5 million.
Similarly, Laxmi Intercontinental — the authorised distributor of Hyundai vehicles for Nepal — is also recording good bookings for its two variants of hatchback Eon — Eon D-Lite and Eon D-Lite Plus since the last one week.
“The number of queries for Hyundai Eon has gone up significantly across our showrooms since a few days and Hyundai has recorded a good number of bookings for both variants of Eon,” said Rupesh Sharma Bhatta, assistant general manager of Laxmi Intercontinental.
He, however, refused to disclose the actual number of bookings made for Eon. The company has been offering Eon D-Lite and Eon D-Lite Plus at Rs 1.696 million and Rs 1.796 million, respectively.
United Traders Syndicate (UTS) — the authorised distributor for Toyota vehicles in Nepal — is also expecting a boost in sales of its luxurious cab Etios Liva-G, which costs almost Rs three million in the domestic market.
“Toyota’s Etios Liva-G is a luxurious car which the company has offered as cab. The car ensures durability and reliability,” said Bibek Bahadur Balami, sales and marketing manager of UTS, adding that the company will order Etios Liva-G as per its demand in the domestic market. The company says it is currently out of stock of Etios Liva-G.
Auto dealers have been financing new cabs to quake-victims at an average 12 per cent interest rate per annum. While Suzuki Alto is available at 11 per cent interest rate, Hyundai Eon is being financed at 13 per cent interest rate.
The increasing sale of cabs is expected to boost automobile business in the country. Automobile dealers will do business worth Rs 2.25 billion even if the average price of a cab is placed at Rs 1.5 million.
A version of this article appears in print on June 29, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.