Demand For Hybrid Cars on the Rise in Arab World

By dancurranjr On December 23rd, 2009

Authorities said Tuesday there are currently no plans to levy more fees on hybrid cars as demand on such vehicles has surged recently, a trend attributed to concerns that extra charges are imminent.

According to figures by the Jordan Customs Department (JCD), a total of 4,796 cars have been cleared from the free zone since the beginning of 2009, with 859, or 18 per cent of the total number, entering the market between December 1 and 21.

The value of the environment-friendly cars, which are mostly imported from the US is JD102.5 million, the JCD indicated.

During the past month, people started to speed up clearance procedures for hybrid cars in the free zone, where over 2,850 hybrids were cleared between January and November, said Nabil Abu Rumman, president of the Jordan Free Zone Investors Association.

“There are rumours that the new government plans to impose more custom fees on hybrid cars early next year, but we have not received anything about such plans,” he added.

Current fees on green cars, which use both gasoline and electricity, range between JD1,000 and JD4,000 depending on the size of the engine, according to Abu Rumman.

Earlier this year, the Environment Ministry requested customs fees to be imposed on large-engine vehicles, saying that only hybrid vehicles under 2,000cc should be exempt from taxes and fees because they are more fuel-efficient and environment-friendly. But the Finance Ministry announced then that it had no plans to impose such fees.

JCD Director General Ghaleb Sarayreh told The Jordan Times on Tuesday that there are no plans to introduce more fees or taxes on hybrid cars, saying this issue has not been discussed by the new government.

“Even if a decision in this regard was taken, it will take into consideration the vehicles on display at the free zone,” the official noted.

Nadim Haddad, the marketing and sales manager at the Central Trade and Auto Company, a Toyota agent in Jordan, said that in addition to the availability of maintenance and spare parts for such cars at some dealerships, rumours about new custom fees were the main reason for the increasing demand.

Jordan is the largest importer of fuel-efficient cars in the region due to high fuel prices in addition to the fact that importing vehicles is not exclusive to agents, Haddad said.

According to Luay Shurafa, the regional manager of General Motors (GM) in the Levant area, said Jordan is the region’s first country with demand for hybrid models, expecting hybrid SUV sales to overtake conventional SUV sales in Jordan in the coming few years because buyers want to take advantage of low customs fees on hybrid models in addition to the element of fuel efficiency.

Haddad stated that maintenance and spare parts are available at agencies for hybrid cars, which are made to suit the topography and the climate of the Kingdom.

The battery costs between $4,000 and $5,000 while the price of the electric motor is $7,000, according to Haddad.

Abu Rumman explained that availability of green car maintenance and spare parts will increase in the coming year with more affordable prices because most manufacturing companies will focus on producing such types of cars.

SOURCE: Jordan Times

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