Registration of new vehicles rose 5.55 percent in the first half of the fiscal year, which auto dealers termed “disappointing”.
A total of 130,342 vehicles were registered with the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) over the period compared to 123,477 units a year ago.
All the segments—bus; minibus and mini truck; crane, dozer, excavator, truck, and tripper; car, jeep, and van; pick-up, micro, tempo, motorcycle and tractor and power trailer—posted growth in registration.
“Going by the data, yes, there’s growth. But it’s not satisfactory,” said Shekhar Golchha, president of Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada).
A slowdown in motorcycle sales dragged down the overall sector. Two-wheeler registration in Bagmati, one of the major markets, has been on the decline. At the end of the first half, 53,494 two-wheelers were registered in Bagmati, while the figure was at 54,051 a year ago. Country wide, the two-wheeler registration, however, rose by 2,576 units to 110,282.
“Scooters are driving two-wheeler registration,” Golchha said, adding motorcycle sales have been disappointing across the country.
Sectors which posted impressive growth are micro and tempos. A total of 509 micros were registered in the review period,—up 460 units. “If you analyse the data, there is a wave visible in certain segments every year. This time, it might be in the micro segment,” Golchha said.
Basanta Adhikari, director of vehicle division at DoTM, said the growth micro bus segment might be because of increasing sales for tourism purposes. With relatively stable political situation, the use of micro buses as tourist vehicles has been increasing, he said.
The growth in the tempo segment, 231 registrations, has been attributed to electric tempos and tricycles. In the first six months of last fiscal year, only one tempo was registered. “The use of tricycles and electric tempos has increased in Tarai areas, especially in Biratnagar and Janakpur,” Golchha said.
Similarly, passenger cars fuelled the growth in the car/jeep/van category, which saw the sales rise by 1,237 units in the first six months. Traders attributed the growth to easy financing and low bank rates.
“The interest rates, on an average, have reached as low as 7.5 percent. Also, relative political stability and increase in disposable income played a role,” said Sunil Chhetri, deputy general manager at Go Ford, authorised distributor of Ford.
He said along with the rise in sales, there has also been a shift in peoples’ buying pattern. “With the arrival of new entry-level cars, the sedan segment is booming, with 167 percent growth,” said Chhetri, adding the market share of hatchbacks dipped to around 40 percent, followed sedans’ 30 percent and SUV’s 20 percent.
Golchha said while banks do not finance two-wheelers, car buyers are getting easy and long-term financing facility from banks at lower interest rates. An increase in infrastructure projects boosted the sales of heavy equipment.
A total of 1,568 crane/dozer/excavator/truck/tripper were registered in the first six months compared to 1,169 in the same period a year ago. “Besides, the use of earthmovers has increased in mining projects,” Golchha said.
Vehicle registration compared (first six months)
Category FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15
Car/Jeep/Van 5,732 6,969
Two-wheeler 107,706 110,282
Bus 1,002 1,558
Minibus/Mini Truck 505 766
Pick-up 2,847 3,032
Micro 49 509
Tempo 1 231
Tractor/Power Trailer 4,386 5,384
Crane/Dozer/Excavator/Truck/Tripper 1,169 1,568
Others 53 43
Total 123,477 130,342