Sathosa Motors PLC will be opening a new branch in Jaffna on the 11th of December. This new move taken by the company is not only done with the intention of promoting business but also with the intention of creating new avenues for youth to gain employment. The Sunday Times Free Hold Supplement spoke to Mr. Tilak Gunasekera, Executive Director of Sathosa Motors to find out more about their intention behind expanding to Jaffna.
Mr. Tilak Gunasekera, Executive Director of Sathosa Motorst
"The opening up of the A9 Road will bring in new business opportunities for the country. Already we are receiving a very positive response from Jaffna with regards to the opening of our new branch. It is not only the opening up of our branch that we want to focus on in Jaffna, we also hope to provide the necessary training for the youth with regard to the technical aspects of the motor business.
Also we hope to open up franchise garages in the Jaffna district and appoint the youth trained by us; this will not only provide job opportunities for the youth in Jaffna but will also help to develop this district in the long run. Our Isuzu Brand is very popular in the Jaffna region even during the ongoing war times mainly due to Isuzu vehicles being high in durability and quality as well as having excellent performance levels. In addition to this people in this area have always maintained a brand loyalty to the Isuzu Brand which we are quite proud of", says Mr. Gunasekera.
Dealers have also been appointed in the East where operations in this area are expected to commence from January, which will undoubtedly open doors to new businesses. According to Mr. Gunasekera more investments should be made with regards to developing the North and East areas of the country, where the communities are badly in need of good products and services to be introduced for their benefit. The government should also support this by eliminating as much as possible the red tapes that are holding up the development process of these areas concerned.
The company's launch of New 700P Trucks will take place in Jaffna and once the other areas in the North and East regions are cleared for business Sathosa Motors will be moving towards providing its services to these areas as well. With almost all the leading and banking institutions present in the North and East providing the required leasing facilities for vehicles will not be a hassle.
"Already a few spare part outlets are in operation in the Jaffna area which offers our Isuzu products. We are also planning to open a few more such outlets within the Jaffna town and the suburban areas for the benefit of our customers. Currently there is a high demand in Jaffna for our Isuzu trucks, which are ideal for the transportation of the basic requirements such as food and medicines etc.", further stated Mr. Gunasekera.
Colombo customers prefer the Isuzu single or double cabs, which apart from being a commercial vehicle is also substituted as a family vehicle according to the customer's individual requirements. Due to the durability of these vehicles they are better equipped to withstand the tough Sri Lankan road conditions.
Commenting on the high prices that currently exist in the Sri Lankan motor market Mr. Gunersekera said that it is not their mark up prices that are highly priced but it is the heavy government taxes being charged on motor vehicles that are causing the motor car industry to suffer. Also he further stated that Sri Lanka was the only country in the world that classified double cabs as luxury vehicles which were actually off road vehicles used for cargo and business purposes. Due to this classification made by the Sri Lankan Customs more than 50% of a double cab's selling price includes excise duty and other forms of taxes.
In conclusion Mr. Gunasekera emphasized that, "Sri Lanka has a very unfair tax system where most often one is double taxed. If the country is to progress these impending tax anomalies have to be addressed immediately. I stand by my theory that both the single and the double cab should be classified under the truck category when it comes to taxations.
This move will also greatly benefit the government in the long run by helping to cut down on fuel usage as these are mostly diesel driven vehicles. Also double cabs require fewer repairs when compared to those of a car which will greatly cut back on spare part imports and result in a very good foreign currency saving for the country. I truly believe that these are areas that have to be looked into by the policy makers of this country if the Sri Lankan motor industry is to survive in the future."