Second-hand car importers have formed a new association in response to a “crisis” facing their industry after Brexit.
“If things do not change, our business has no future,” a board member of the association, Ventur Auto Imports Ltd director Keith Grima, told Times of Malta.
The new Malta Car Importers Association works in conjunction with the Used Cars Importers Association.
According to some estimates, more than half the used cars imported into Malta come from the UK.
A significant number also come from Japan, where they also drive on the left.
Grima said the increased burdens that come with importing cars from post-Brexit UK are having a negative effect on their business. His own company’s import activity has declined drastically over the last few months, he said.
Britain is the second-largest right-hand drive vehicle market in the world and the second-largest premium vehicle manufacturer in Europe.
Malta is forced to depend heavily on the significantly more expensive processes that are now required to import from the UK.
“With the Brexit agreement, we now have to pay 10 per cent of duty fees on top of freight cost and 18 per cent VAT on top of the final selling price, plus other expenses in additional certification and documentation which now need to be presented to the authorities.”
The extra costs can raise prices by an estimated 30 per cent per vehicle.
“In response to this problem, we importers have formed the MCIA, which already boasts over 70 members,” Grima said.
“The most important point that everyone is forgetting about is the loss of jobs, both directly and indirectly.”
He stressed that Malta does not have the luxury to turn towards other EU states for their vehicle imports since it is a left-hand side driving country.
“We are in talks with the government to prevent the industry from collapsing completely.
“Besides our members’ businesses, we also want to protect mechanics, panel beaters, sprayers, car detailers and everyone else involved in the industry, because all of it is at risk in this current situation.”
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