Our History

Our intention in forming the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka was simple - we wanted to create a voice for an industry which was in its infancy during the early 80's - an industry which revolutionized society opening up a new chapter in the countries transport history!
Mr. Wijitha Ranasinghe (Founding Member, Past President)

Pre-1977 Automobile Industry

The Liberalization of the Sri Lankan economy in 1977 opened the market, encouraging investments in private sector. As government followed a liberal economic policy - with the amendments to the regulations of export and import industries, overseas goods started to circulate in the local market.

Prior to 1977, the automobile market of the post-colonial Sri Lanka was dominated by British and European car brands such as Ford, Mini, Rolls Royce and... Back then purchasing a car was a luxury that only the crème de la crème of the society could enjoy as the vehicle importation was strictly limited and taxes were high.

Open Economy - Open Roads

With the amendments to importation policies Japanese motor brands were introduced to the local market, changing the direction and nature of Sri Lankan automobile industry. During this phase many aspiring entrepreneurs ventured into the second-hand vehicle trade, importing used Japanese cars.

With reliability, comfort and durability Japanese automobile brands were able to win the consumer trust and loyalty and by late 1980s the automobile market was booming. The auto showrooms (locally referred to as car sales), vehicle service stations and spare part shops were built to meet the increasing demand. With the growth of the industry, the importers realized the significance of unified voice to represent the interests of the vehicle importers advocating the industry.

The Birth of VIASL

It was the 16th of February 1984, six leading vehicle importers (Namely, Mr. D.R. Subasinghe, Mr. Raja Nanayakkara, Mr. W. Ranasinghe, Mr. Gihan Ramanayake, Mr. Sathya Dharmadhathu, and Mr. Moris Perera) took an unprecedented step in the history of vehicle importation industry in Sri Lanka by forming Vehicle Importation Association of Sri Lanka at No.93 Barnes Place, Colombo.

Our Forefathers

The founding members of VIASL were:

Mr. Raja NanayakkaraFounder President
Dr. SubasingheFounder Secretary
Mr. W. RanasingheFounder Treasurer
Mr. Gihan RamanayakeFounder Member
Mr. Moris PereraFounder Member
Mr. Sathya DharmadhatuFounder Member

The following year many successful importers sought affiliation of the Association including Mr. Bandula Weerasinghe, Mr. Amarasekara, Mr. Jayantha, Mr. M. S. M. Yeheiya, Mr. D. I. Gurege, Mr. Ashok Ganwane, Mr. K. P. W. Ramanaika, Mr. H. K. Ranasinghe, Mr. Kaluthota Nandasena, and Mr. Siril Senanayake. In the 1987 Mr. Manapperuma, Mr. Birty Vithanagamage, Mr. Wajira Rudrigo, Mr. Condrit De Alwis, and Mr. Freddi Alwis.

The Annual General Meetings of VIASL

The subsequent year the Annual General Meeting of the Association was held at Taj Samudra Hotel where a large number of importers joined the Association. In 2001 it was held at the Hilton Hotel,Colombo and more recently in 2010 at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.

The Past Presidents & Secretaries of VIASL

Year President Secretary
1999 - 2000 Mr. W. Ramanayake Mr. D. R. Subasinghe
2001 - 2002 Mr. Birty Vithanagama -
2004 - 2005 Mr. Pushpakumara Mr. Premalal
2006 - 2007 Mr. Wijitha Ranasinghe Mr. Gihan Ramanayake
2008 - 2009 Mr. Wijitha Ranasinghe Mr. Sampath Merenchige
2009 - 2010 Mr. Wijitha Ranasinghe -
2010 - 2011 Mr. Yoga Perera Mr. Upeksha De Silva

Over the past three decades the vehicle importation industry has evolved assuring the high quality, and reliability of the automobiles imported by our members. Today VIASL is acclaimed as the foremost trade association representing Sri Lankan vehicle importers.