Monday, June 09, 2014

Selling your Car to the Tent in Thailand

Bye Bye Volvo
The most painful transition moving on to a new car is when you need to sell your old. If you have the luxury of time, put an advert up on car web sites. You will have made good progress if you manage to register yourself in the first place. Normally when I try to register myself with online Thai forums, I usually end up signing up unknowing for some ladyboy porn websites. The thing is websites here are foreigner unfriendly, totally no English. Since my Thai reading competency is as good as that of a young Thai sperm, I had no choice but to sell my car to the "tent". These are the second hand dealers. I had tried trading in my car at the showroom over the purchase of a new car but it was daylight robbery the price they offered. Then I realized eventually this happens at the tents too.

How much you can get selling to the tent depends on what brand of cars it is. Honda and Toyota are easily accepted by the dealers, they fetch the most resale value in the market. Ford and Mazda will get lower returns because they are not well sought after. These cars are reputed in Thailand for their good undercarriage but bad after sales service with regards to maintenance. I have no idea about why Suzuki Swift seems to be doing ok on the resale, maybe because people who cannot afford Minis will buy Suzuki and dressed them up like Mini. I have seen funny stickers on Swifts that mentioned "When I grow up, I will be a Mini". Hyundai is not well accepted, generally Thais don't trust the Korean cars and they are overpriced. As for Protons, you drive them into Chao Phraya River when its time to sell them.

Continentals, they are a sad story. Continentals are actually very good cars packed with technologies but because they are so difficult to maintain, some makes are even turned away by the dealers. For a 5 year old Volvo, her price will depreciate to less than 35% her original first day value. And if sold to the tent, they will slash it by a further 50% breaking your balls even more (mine did). They will offer low because they need to repair whatever that needed to be fixed so that your car "appears" immaculate. In addition to providing a 3 months warranty to the new owner which likely will be exercised as continentals are prone to failures, they take risk of further depreciation in case your car is not sold. BMW and Benz, being more prestigious in Thailand, depreciates somewhat lesser. If you own a Citroen or Peugeot, cut them up into little pieces and use them as paper weight when you are done with them. They also make good coral reefs if you are staying near the Andaman.

Now, why only Hondas and Toyotas I asked the Thais. Easy to find parts, easy to repair. This because there are just so many around. And these particular two brands of Japanese cars are very durable. With so many of these Japanese makes around, mechanics generally acquire the skills easily to repair them cars because there is a flood of knowledge out there. Therefore maintenance cost is lower unlike the continental cars. More importantly, cheap to maintain equals more people like. Thailand is not English proficient, particularly for mechanics who normally are lowly educated. Goggling for repair procedures and reading that manual from Haynes is out of the question. It's not like in other countries where mechanics can supplement their knowledge just by reading. Anyway, I was told Thais who read are a protected species, they are hard to find.

As a result tricky mechanical problems on continentals are usually never successfully resolved. Thai mechanics repair blind that's how it is. They tear your engine apart and replace everything inside when the actually problem is engine running too rich because of a hole in a exhaust. Systematic fault isolation in logical order is not a practice here. There is no divide and conquered concept, there is only fixed the problem in a blanket fashion and pray the problem is gone. It's like I drive my car into my living room, destroying my wall in the process, just to crush that cockroach. So, when in Thailand, stick to Honda's and Toyotas. They are sissy cars yes with unimpressive power ratings, but a sensible choices that are easy our pockets.


Bestof2Worlds said...

Hi Jewie, In Malaysia tag line "Volvo for Life." I think they were referring to the safety features packed into their cars. But for me it was more of a Life Sentence - never could get rid of the car and many trips to the workshop and of course the cardiac arrest inducing bills.

Jewie said...

You are right about the heart attacks. My last one was the gearbox on my ex-S70. It cost 4700RM for a overhaul. But, I love the Volvo, it so heavily stable on long distance, and the engine is full of torque when the turbo kicks in. It's a shame it's too expensive to maintain.