No buyer has bid the expected prices for 108 luxury cars of renowned brands, which were brought into Bangladesh under the carnet facility, at the seventh auction organised by the Chittagong Customs House.
In the latest auction held online on 12 and 13 June, 563 tenders were submitted, and bids ranged between Tk50,000 and Tk56 lakh, said Chittagong Customs House Deputy Commissioner Al Amin.
These cars have been auctioned since 2016. In the previous auction held on 3 and 4 November last year, 551 tenders were submitted for 112 vehicles but only three of them sold.
According to customs rules, items can be sold at auction if 60% of the reserve price is offered. However, if the same product is auctioned more than once because it did not sell, there is a provision to sell it at a lower price.
The auctioned vehicles included Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Land Rover, Land Cruiser, CRV, Lexus, Ford, Jaguar, Daewoo and Honda models, he added.
The price of a Mitsubishi Jeep (4 + 1 Door) luxury vehicle was set at 1.39 crore at the customs auction, and the highest bidder offered only Tk50,000, while another bidder offered Tk21.52 lakh for a Land Cruiser brand vehicle worth Tk3.20 crore.
Customs officials said last year there was little response in the auction due to the complexities of getting a clearance permit from the Ministry of Commerce. This year, massive campaigns were conducted to remove the complication related to the clearance permit. However, the response from buyers was not as expected.
According to the law, importers and bidders need clearance for releasing vehicles more than five years old from the port as Bangladesh restricts the import of such older model cars.
The carnet facility is a special facility for bringing a car from another country for temporary use. Foreign dignitaries, citizens of different countries of Bangladeshi descent, and diplomatically important citizens are allowed to bring these vehicles to Bangladesh under carnet or tourism facilities.
But Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate officials said many of those vehicles were not re-exported as per the rules and authorities concerned are often left in the dark regarding the whereabouts of these vehicles. After bringing such vehicles to Bangladesh, the owners later sell them out and buyers often use the cars using fake documents and registration numbers.
As these vehicles are often abandoned, the engine, batteries, wheels and other parts are damaged. Even the keys of most of the vehicles are missing as well.