Japan quake jolts Bangladesh used car market

March 20th, 2011 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 20 (IANS) Bangladesh, which imports around 40,000 used or reconditioned cars annually from Japan, has been badly hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Prices of imported used cars are set to rise in the local market due to a limited number of vehicles available in Japan, the Daily Star reported.

Japan controls 95 percent of the used car market in Bangladesh. Both new and used cars from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi dominate Bangladesh’s roads. Toyota accounts for 75 percent of the market.

Importers said auctions for reconditioned cars are not being held regularly due to the Japanese disaster, which has broken the supply chain of used cars to Bangladesh.

“Even if some auctions are being held in Japan, the Japanese people are also bidding, as many of their cars were washed away by the tsunami,” said an importer, Habib Ullah.

“We are now forced to buy a car at $12,000, up from $10,000 a few days ago. Our customers have to bear the extra cost,” he said.

Abdul Hamid Sharif, the secretary general of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association, said prices of used cars have gone up.

“New production in Japan is being hampered seriously as the earthquake and tsunami have inflicted damage on component plants. This will not go very soon,” he said.

“People will not sell their old cars if they cannot buy new ones. As a result, we are getting fewer cars to import. Besides, the local demand for old cars is rising in Japan as many have lost their cars.”

Bangladeshi buyers are facing another problem.

The government has hiked tax on imported cars. The stronger US dollar and Japanese yen against the Bangladeshi taka has pushed up the prices of reconditioned cars significantly.

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