RTAD rules out right-hand-drives

Vehicle prices may be set to rise next year as the government moves to reduce the number of right-hand- drive cars on the roads, importers and dealers say.

The new import rules for 2016 issued by the Road Transport Administration Department will oblige a wide range of importers, including nearly all government staff, to import only left-hand-drive models.

According to the measures RTAD announced on December 19, dealers can import private cars, trucks and buses manufactured between 2006 and 2013 under the “clunker program”, in which they trade in an older model.

But all other categories of vehicles imported will have to be manufactured no earlier than 2014. Individual importers, import-export companies, diplomats, seamen, defence ministry staff, and hotel and tourism ministry workers may import models dated 2014 to 2016 only. Taxis, private cars, trucks, public transportation buses, business use vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, vehicles used by clerics, and hearses must all be of 2014 to 2016 manufacture.

RTAD has also confirmed long -circulating rumours in the motor trade by ruling that the categories of importer listed above may bring in only left-hand-drive vehicles, which are more suitable for right-hand-drive Myanmar roads.

Importers of trucks of 1 tonne and above, minibuses, city and express buses, vehicles for personal use, import-export companies, seamen, and government staff in the foreign affairs, defence, and hotels and tourism ministries may import only left-hand-drive vehicles.

“Restricting imported vehicles to left-hand-drive only is what we expected from RTAD. This will cut imports because left-hand-drive vehicles are more expensive,” said U Soe Htun, president of the Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers’ and Distributors’ Association.

He said the “slip price” – the fee charged for the document that must accompany “clunker” trades – would also increase.

“People who want trucks are after the right-hand-drive Japanese brands. Any left-hand-drive vehicles imported will be Chinese or Korean brands. It looks like the government doesn’t want to import any more right-hand-drive vehicles at all,” he said.

U Soe Htun said the price of popular Suzuki trucks used for goods distribution used to be K7 million, but could now more than double to K15 million due to inflated slip prices.

Any increase in slip price is likely to contribute to a rise in vehicle prices, though some analysts say the 60,000 cars that have already reached Myanmar could serve as a buffer, stabilising prices.

Source: Myanmar Times

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