This is mainly due to the sharp rise in excise taxes on right-hand drive cars, although the large number of such vehicles were imported into the country before January 1 and customs clearance is carried out under the old rules.
However, not all managed to bring the right-hand drive cars in the grace period, and imports fell sharply after the 1st of January. It is expected that the trend will be even more pronounced during the year.
According to the head of the Autocom Japan company Lasha Machitidze, excise duties on RHD cars had a negative impact on the importers of Japanese cars.
“We have employed about 60 people in 4 offices. We now have an office and 5 people. But this will not last long. After about 2 months, we’ll generally close down. Now, taking into account the level of excise duties, rise in prices the least affected the hybrid cars issued in 2011, but they are quite expensive and demand for them is low,” – he says.
In his words, the Japanese cars had two advantages – low cost and very high quality. The new project has deprived right-hand drive cars their main advantage – low cost.
“However, the new law has other consequences besides the actual termination of the import of right-hand drive cars. Now a huge amount of disassembled American cars is accumulated in he port of Poti. If all of these cars are restored and then sold, it is unlikely to contribute to improving the quality of the Georgian car fleet,” – he explains.
According to him, these cars, even if they are restored, will try to take the vacant niche in right-hand drive Japanese cars in terms of cheapness.
“These cars will be very dangerous for traffic. It turns out that the number of right-hand drive cars is reduced, but the market will be overwhelmed with disassembled and “stitched” in Tbilisi American cars,” – he says.
According to the head of President of the Georgian Automobile Federation Shalva Obgaidze, a decline in imports by 5 million makes about 3% compared to last year.
He believes that in the near future the local car market will adapt to the new conditions and imports will return to previous levels. He adds that the market is the market – there is demand there will be supply.
“Cheaper cars from the USA and South Korea will be brought. For example, it is possible to expect growth of imports of Korean cars. All this will be regulated by the market. It’s currently a very difficult period, but we all have to go through it together,” – Shalva Obgaidze concludes.