As though the automotive industry was not facing enough strife due to a persistent global downturn, local car importers are now the only market segment whose costs are available to the public, by means of a recently launched page within Malta Transport Authority (ADT)’s own website.
Industry sources told Business Today that “talks are ongoing with government on the matter, but in the meantime, anyone wanting to know how much a car is costing us before we put it for sale, can just work out a simple calculation.”
But William Walsh, the spokesperson for the association of car importers refused to elaborate on the issue, initially denying that ADT is revealing such costs. But when pushed, Walsh said: “The association has no comment to make on the issue at this stage.”
The ADT website http://vehicleregistration.gov.mt features a section entitled vehicle valuations, whose intention is to let the public know how much registration must be paid on used cars. The webpage however, also provides the option to ask for the registration value of any car, thus revealing the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) of new car importers. In the recently published Registration Tax and Annual Circulation Licence Fees Guidelines, the ADT points out that “for new vehicles, the registration value is the cost including insurance and freight as shown on the invoice when the vehicle is brought into Malta.”
Although the website itself gives out the registration value of used vehicles, a customer care official at ADT confirmed with Business Today that “for any car under a year old, the website will calculate on the registration value of new cars.”
This statement was reconfirmed after the official was heard checking with a colleague over the phone.
Once car importers have their CIF on specific car models revealed, current and prospective competitors from the new and used cars industry, may have every opportunity to work out the mark up on each vehicle made by local car importers. This can be done by applying simple primary school mathematics:
Details for a Peugeot 308 were keyed into the webpage, and the registration value for a 2009 three-door version with a 1.4 litre engine was requested. The registration value, or CIF, resulted to be €8,617, whereas tax stood at €3,837. Therefore, the total cost of the vehicle amounts to the registration value plus 18 per cent VAT, which equals €10168 plus registration tax, therefore €14,005. The showroom price less the resultant is the importer’s profit before marketing and administration costs.