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Thu, 24 April 2014 14:51:10
Sri Lanka Tata sales hold up despite inflation: agents
20 Jun, 2008 19:16:09
June 20, 2008 (LBO) - High inflation and interest rates have hit auto sales in Sri Lanka but the market for Indian made Tata vehicles remains strong, the brand's agents, Diesel and Motor Engineering Company (DIMO) said.
Sri Lanka's annual auto sales have seen a 20 percent drop to 17,600 units but DIMO's market share for Tata vehicles have been maintained for 2007 at around 6,700 vehicles, DIMO chairman Ranjith Pandithage said.

"High borrowing costs have affected vehicle sales, but we have been able to maintain our market share (for Tata)," Pandithage told LBO at the launching of the new two seater pick-up truck 'Tata Xenon'.

Sri Lanka is the first market outside India that Xenon was launched, DIMO said.

The pick-up with the market price of 1.8 million rupees comes with a three litre diesel engine and other options such as air conditioner, power windows and central locking.

Despite imports from China the company sales is not affected due to DIMO's after sales service and product support, DIMO general manager Vijitha Bandara said.

"We do not find them (Chinese imports) as a threat because people need to have spares, reach and service to maintain the product," Bandara said.

"You need to support the product."

DIMO which imports the Indian manufactured Tata to Sri Lanka also has agencies for Mercedes and Chrysler.

The company expects the market for heavy commercial vehicles to drop, owing to higher maintenance, affordability and rising leasing costs. However, light commercial vehicles such as smaller lorries with lower payload capacity will increase, DIMO says.

The group's profit slumped 32 percent to 205 million rupees for the year ended March 2008. Total turnover was down two percent to 12.68 billion rupees.

DIMO's is in the process of being spun out of Sri Lanka's Hayleys group. The share closed down 75 cents to128.25 Friday.

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