Sino Wheels

June 21, 2007(LBO) – One of Sri Lanka’s largest used vehicle importers plans to import small cars from China and strike a deal with a big Chinese automaker to assemble vehicles locally, an official said. Sterling Automobiles, which claims to import half the reconditioned vehicles to the country from Japan, has just launched a brand new truck range from First Automotive Works (FAW) of China, after becoming its agent in Sri Lanka

But officials say they want to move a step further.

We are at the moment on the discussion table with First Automotive Works to assemble vehicles locally,” C. Molligoda, Chairman of Sterling Automobiles (Pvt) Limited, told LBO.

We will be able to come to an agreement this year itself.”

The local firm wants to build a factory to start assembling small vehicles and sports utility vehicles (SUV).

It aims to exploit an import duty advantage as finished vehicles attract higher import duty than importing parts which can be assembled in local plants much cheaper.

Sterling Automobiles hope to bring down the prices through importing parts and adding value through assembling in Sri Lanka.

This will give us a huge duty charge advantage and we