Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Auto show scrapped - again

Published:Sunday | August 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Brian Bonitto, Special Assignment Editor

For the second consecutive year, the preparations for the Automobile Dealers' Association's (ADA) annual car show held at the National Arena in St Andrew have stalled.

"It's not likely to happen this year," ADA chairman Kent LaCroix told Automotives. "The cost of staging the event is too high."

LaCroix, who was recently returned as chairman for the sixth year, said the show - which had its beginnings in the 1960s - ran a tab of between $15 to $20 million.

"That's far too great for dealers to incur and sponsors have to get value for their money," he said.

Major Desmon Brown, chairman of Independence Park Limited (IPL), managers of the National Arena, said the renting of the facility is not as expensive as persons may perceive.

"It's value for money ... and holds up to 7,000 persons ... and we haven't increased the rent for over three years," said Major Brown.

The former army man said in 2009, the ADA received a quotation of $2.8 million to host a two-day event.

"The days billed for were November 26 to 30. This included an additional two days for them to set up," he said.

Quotation breakdown

The IPL chairman said quotation breakdown was $1.2 million for electricity; $905,000 for rent; and $455,000 for cleaning plus tax.

"It's just light that's increasing over the years," Major Brown said.

The local auto sector has been hard hit by the global recession.

According to LaCroix, since the start of the year, sales of new vehicles have fallen 15 per cent below last year's figures.

"And last year, sales were less than 50 per cent," the chairman said.

Tax reduction

In an effort to jump-start an ailing auto sector, the Government announced - in September of last year - a six-month reduction in the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on new imported motor vehicles by 20 percentage points.

The move - dubbed a "motor vehicle stimulus package" - saw the slashing of the tax on vehicles with 1600cc and upwards.

Under the programme, vehicles which attracted SCT of 10 per cent were zero-rated. The SCT on high-end vehicles was also reduced from 70 to 35 per cent. The package deal ended in March of this year.

LaCroix is, however, optimistic the show will go on.

"We're hoping earlier next year," he said.

- brian.bonitto@gleanerjm.com