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Traders say new automall is inadequate and cold

Reality – The model

Trans. by M.OYUNGEREL

This winter is especially cold and harsh compared to recent years’. Temperatures are reaching -20 to -30 degrees Celsius in Ulaanbaatar, and temperatures near the Auto Checkpoint at Auto Mall is reaching -47 degrees Celsius.
I went to Auto Mall, in the 32nd khoroo of Songinokhairkhan District, last Saturday to learn about the newly opened mall’s activities, which have been the cause of frustration among auto traders in the country ever since its opening.
When I arrived at the mall, approximately 20 small buildings were bundled together. All services needed for new vehicles, such as vehicle registration, license plate makers and insurance companies had been crammed into small buildings. Small shops and cafeterias were also crammed into the building.
As I looked around, I could see a few cars here and there peeking through mounds of snow, which were  apparently displayed for sale.
It was past 1:00 p.m. when we got there. The Vehicle Registration Office workers had gone out for lunch, so their doors were closed, and we had no other choice but to wait.
Because it was very cold, I couldn’t stay outside for too long. My reporting team got back inside the car to keep warm. There are no other places in the area to stay warm other than the small cafeterias and shops. Since there’s no central building or waiting halls, those waiting to get services at the Auto Mall waited in their cars as well.
Everyone had turned on their cars in the parking lot of Auto Mall to keep warm.
It was around 2:00 p.m. when the two car registration officers opened their doors. People waiting in their cars came out rushing. We rushed out of our cars to get into the building also.
I don’t know if it was the weekends, but only two customer service personnel were present, although there were many customers. The customers were mostly people buying cars who were compiling necessary documents to register their vehicle. I heard whispered complaints about the poor customer service and how far Auto Mall is from the city.
When I asked to get more information about Auto Mall, a worker of the Vehicle Registration Office said, “Today is not a workday. So our authorities are not here.”
I didn’t dare to bother them with any more questions as there were many customers waiting patiently in line.
While waiting, I spoke with some of the people waiting in line to get new license plates for their newly purchased vehicles.
“I’m buying a new car for the first time. This is my first time at Auto Mall. I just came during their lunch hour. It’s really far, but it would have been fine if they served us faster,” said one of the customers, G.Munkhsaikhan.
“This new Auto Mall is 50 kilometers from Da Khuree Market, and 20 kilometers from the city center. It’s hard because there’s lots of traffic trying to get here. Why are they making us go so far just to get license plates for newly imported cars,” said a man who didn’t want his name on print.
The Road Agency of Ulaanbaatar, which works under the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, said that it transferred the Vehicle Registration Office to Auto Mall to help ease traffic congestion in Ulaanbaatar, decrease the number of automobile incidents and to centralize all services. They also mentioned that they were addressing complaints submitted the Capital Mayor’s Office and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation about the traffic registration offices caused when they were located in the city.
From what we have observed, very few traders were selling cars at the mall. This is because people are still buying their cars from established auto markets, such as the Da Khuree Market. People only came here to get license plates.
“On weekdays, most of my time is spent on the road when I’m trying to get from Da Khuree Market to Auto Mall. For example, if I got out of the city at around noon, I only finish my work at around 5:00 p.m. after being stuck in traffic for hours. On workdays, the road from Sapporo to Tavan Shar is very congested. Everyone knows it. By bringing the registration office to Auto Mall, I would say it’s doing more bad than good. The traffic congestion on this route has actually increased, and it’s increasing by the day. The number of cars without license plates going from Da Khuree Market to the Auto Mall has increased in the last few months. Even the traffic police knows this,” said a car salesman who works at Da Khuree Market, G.Odbaatar.

G.Odbaatar, who trades vehicles at  Da Khuree, gave a short interview about his trade.

Wouldn’t it be easier for you to sell your cars at Auto Mall? Then registration services will be closer too.

I can’t afford it even if I wanted to. There’s no auto trader today who sells only one car. We are selling at least five to 10 cars at one time. But the Auto Mall says the parking spot for one car is 4.5 million MNT. So for a person with 10 cars, it’s hard to pay 45 million MNT. Then there are electricity bills. It’s better to build a big pavilion on my own land and sell the cars with that money.

It’s hard for vehicles without a license plate to go from one end of the city to another. Do you have any other ways to solve this?

I think it’s easier for the state to give license plates to auto traders. Many foreign countries give a special company registration numbers to auto traders. If we had special company numbers, all cars coming out of Da Khuree Market will have some kind of identification. It would be useful in times of traffic incidents too. The state takes taxes to give companies these special numbers. If Mongolia implemented it, it would aid our state budget too. I think all of the auto traders will agree if they suggested to issue company registration numbers. We talk about it a lot at Da Khuree.

E.Shinebayar, who also sells cars at Da Khuree, gave a brief interview.

Do you sell your cars here at Auto Mall?

No.

Why not?

It’s very cold here. In summer, the disgusting odor from the Water Treatment Plant fills the air. There’s no way to sell a car here. I heard people don’t come here either.
People are starting to say that license plates will not be given to imported cars that were bought from other auto markets. It can’t be like this. Even if we wanted to come here, it’s really expensive. They ask you to buy one parking spot for 4.5 million MNT. You can buy it with a bank loan, they say.Why are they trying to put people without debts into debt?

All state services are centralized in one place. But the Road Agency of Ulaanbaatar moved the license plate registration for newly imported cars to Auto Mall. But we want to get this service from the city center too.

Vehicles without license plates are not permitted to be on the road. We just heard another trader talk about solutions. What’s your view on this?

I agree with him, that’s the international standard. Nowadays, a person buys a car and drives to Auto Mall to register their cars. Then traffic police officers stop them and say they will fine them 96,000 MNT.
Technically, the law states that an imported car should be registered with the state within 72 hours after arrival. Today, most of the imported cars have spent more than 72 hours in Mongolia sold. It’s hard for traders to register all of those cars that they import. Besides, people don’t like buying cars with license plates. They want to choose their own plate numbers. That’s why the company registration number is beneficial.

Those were the comments from auto traders. For them, Auto Mall causes more problems than it solves.
I moved on to talk to the auto traders at the mall. All of their cars were covered in snow. They also said that their cars were frozen to the point they couldn’t be turned on anymore.
They didn’t want their names mentioned on print, but didn’t hesitate to express their opinions.
“It is hard to sell a car in an open area. It’s been three months since I came here, but no one came to see my cars. So I put adverts online. But people don’t come because it’s too far and cold. So now, I’m planning to go back to my old spot in Ulaanbaatar instead of paying rent for nothing. If only I got these cars to turn on,” said one car salesman.
The traders I talked to said they rented one slot for 400,000 MNT a month at Auto Mall. None of the salesmen I spoke to had sold a single car for three months.
After speaking with salesmen, I went into the building of Ikher-Auto Company, one of the license plate printing companies at Auto Mall. According to the workers of the 10 companies that print license plate numbers at the mall said eight of them have official permits, and the other two still didn’t have full permits but were operating nevertheless.
They didn’t want to give additional information.
“If you have questions, talk to the authorities of Auto Mall. We can’t give more information,” he said.
According to car salesmen, they and the service organizations are being forced to pay 36 million MNT for one of the small portable buildings. But no one seems to be buying these properties that cost five to eight million MNT in the current market.
The increasing number of organizations selling cars in Ulaanbaatar is linked to the demand for imported cars. According to recent statistics, approximately 45,000 cars are registered annually in Mongolia.
Nine auto markets are currently operating in Ulaanbaatar: Da Khuree, Uguumur, Technics and Imports Market, Diesel Khuree, Tsakhlai, Dako, Buyan Khurakh and Sutai Buyant Markets. These markets have around 8,000 renters in total, and receive 6,000 to 10,000 costumers on a daily basis.
The Ulaanbaatar Mayor believes that auto markets are the source of traffic congestion in their areas, and has issued a decree of September 2015 to decrease traffic congestion caused by auto markets in the city center. Auto Mall was supposed to be the solution to traffic congestion caused by auto markets, but it seems to have given life to more problems in the past five months it has been operational.
Auto Mall is still incomplete but it is clear that city authorities failed to fully grasp the issues at hand before starting an expensive project to address it.
“They should have at least completed the mall before opening it,” said one salesmen at Auto Mall.

Source: www.olloo.mn

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=18131

Posted by on Jan 29 2016. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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