Expensive Dreams

October 03 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lankans are still snapping up luxury cars like Audi’s despite stiff government taxes, to discourage vehicle sales and curb fuel consumption, officials said. “Looking at the monthly fuel consumption figures, I don’t see people reducing their usage. Neither do we see people not buying vehicles either,” Jayasundara told businessmen late Monday. Audi’s local dealer, Senok Automobile, is seeing buying interest for the new Audi A4 and A6 models, a fortnight after the government slapped a 5-percent import cess.

Launched last week in Colombo, the A4 comes with a price tag of 11 million rupees, while the A6 costs 16 million rupees, inclusive of all taxes.

“We have sold 11 (in) total with five A6’s and the rest A4’s, out of the first 15 imports,” Rajieve Fernando, General Manager Audi said.

Senok also has a trade-in policy giving existing Audi owners a chance to swap their old model for a new one. Since the old car will be valued at current market prices, customers will gain more than they have paid for.

Fernando hopes to hit last year’s mark of 20 Audi sales in 2006, but did not say how many cars they sold before the new shipment arrived.