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Luxury car imports into Phuket steady

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Luxury car imports into Phuket steady | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Despite global economic turmoil, the luxury car import business continues to perform well in an expanding domestic market. Saksri Kerdphol, General Manager of Phuket’s premier foreign automobile dealer and servicer AutoExpress, speaks exclusively with the Gazette about foreign cars and the import market trends in Phuket.

Phuket Gazette: How would you describe AutoExpress clients? Who is your main target group in Phuket ?


Saksri Kerdphol: Our customers range from prominent businessmen to couples and families. We supply a wide range of cars valued between 3 and 30 million baht, targeting different high-end, luxury, family and sport markets. The majority of our clients are wealthy Thais. However, the expatriate client base is expanding, especially the Russian and English markets.

PG: How does AutoExpress differentiate from other competitors in the imported-car business?


SK: We are well established in Thailand, having starting in Bangkok where we have five showrooms. We offer exclusive customer-oriented service including both sales and servicing for all types of import and luxury cars.

The relationship doesn’t end with the sale. In addition to our four on-site mechanics, we also fly in one specialty mechanic from Bangkok on a weekly basis. Our parts suppliers are always reliable, so we are equipped to service any vehicle.

Moreover, we don’t just sell one or a few types of cars, but can import any model of any car from around the world, including used, classic and custom-made cars. However, special orders may take longer than usual, but it is not out of our scope. Every customer has special needs and our aim is to meet the needs of each customer.

PG: How do you view the local competition?


SK: I have extensive experience in the hospitality industry so I view this business similarly. When a hotel is full, they will refer customers to another hotel.

The same goes for this business. If our order log is full for a certain car or part, then we’ll refer the customer to someone else and visa versa. It’s better to work with your competition and not against each other.

PG: Why do you think this market continues to be popular?


SK: Imported cars have a reputation for being strong, durable and reliable. Customers in this market are willing to pay more for superior quality.

The state of the economy is not usually a factor for them. Our customers always want the maximum with full-options and specifications. There is no cutting corners in this market.

PG: Which of your cars are the most popular and best sellers? Any other good performers?


SK: Without a doubt, Mercedes Benz remains the most popular luxury car for the Phuket and Thai market overall, as it is the ultimate status symbol car.

Other cars performing well include the Audi TT Coupe and the Lexus RX 270.

Lately demand for the Mini Cooper is becoming strong.

For families, the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q5 are popular choices.

PG: Of all these beautiful cars, which one is your favorite?


SK: A yellow Porsche Boxster. I’m trying to convince my boyfriend to buy me one.I really do love convertibles.

PG: What about a Corvette convertible?


SK: We have not yet had any requests for this American-icon car, but if we did, we would be the first to import one to Phuket.

PG: Do you get requests for other American cars?

SK: We have sold several Hummers. Even though they’re reliable cars for the Phuket terrain, the problem with them is finding a parking spot. It’s for this same reason the compact car is growing in popularity.

— Steven Layne



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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit | The Thaiger

The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit from next Friday and give UK PM Theresa May time to get her deal approved in Parliament.

The PM had hoped to persuade the EU to delay the March 29 Brexit date, set in law, to June 30. But the EU country leaders have offered her two dates…

  1. A delay until May 22 if MPs approve her withdrawal deal in next week’s vote.
  2. 2. A shorter delay until April 12 if they reject it. But the UK will have to set out its next steps – another extension or leaving without a deal.

But the EU says a further extension beyond April 12 is only possible if the UK agrees to hold EU elections on May 23.

As to how British lawmakers can sort things out in a few weeks after two years of debate remains to be seen.

But economists are warning Thailand to brace for some fallout from the UK exit from the EU because it is more likely to happen than not, just a matter of when.

First of all, no-deal Brexit means the UK will no longer be a part of the EU bloc and will have to revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. Made-in-UK goods will be subject to EU tariffs, like that of other non-EU nations. Meanwhile, the price of the EU-made merchandises in the UK may become more expensive as they will have to bear the cost of imported tariffs as well.

According to SCB Economic Intelligence Centre, a no-deal Brexit will impact the UK economy and, consequently, affect British purchasing power overseas. British demand for Thai exports, namely automobiles and parts, and processed chicken meat may reduce.

British expats will also have to face a worsening rate of exchange with the Thai baht, lessening the power of the British pound they bring into the Kingdom for living, retirement or holidays.

Nonetheless, the overall impact on Thai exports should not be significant because the Thai outbound shipment to the UK represents only 1.5 percent of total Thai exports, according to the the think tank of Siam Commercial Bank.

Brexit may also prompt Thailand and the EU to renegotiate some trade deals such as import quota to the EU. Thailand may have to renegotiate the export quota with the EU on processed chicken, as an example. And Thailand may also have to negotiate another chicken export deal with the UK separately after the UK separation from the EU.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of Department of Trade Negotiations, said Brexit could complicate the process of Thai-EU free trade negotiation, which is scheduled to resume in the second half of this year.

“At any rate, after the Thai general election, Thailand is set to continue to negotiate with the EU on the Thai-EU free trade deal regardless of the UK decision.”

On the bright side, Brexit may prompt the UK investors to pay more attention to potential markets beyond the EU border. At present, direct investment from the UK to Thailand is small, accounting for only 3.5 percent of the total foreign direct investment, according to SCB.

Kasikorn Research Centre note that in addition to Brexit, Thai investors should take into account the consequences of the EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force last month.

The EPA could affect the exports of Thai automobile which is part of the Japanese’ supply chains. The EPA will end tariffs of auto and parts between Japan and EU by 2026.

Kasikorn Bank’s think tank says, in light of Brexit, some Japanese automakers will likely relocate some of their car production from the UK to other EU countries to maintain the EU trade privileges. Nissan and Honda have already flagged this probability.

Thus, the destinations for Thai exported automobiles and parts, which are part of the supply chains of Japanese automakers, may also change in accordance with Japanese automakers’ revised business strategy.

While the actual impacts on trade and investment remain to be seen, Brexit has been chiefly attributed to the volatility of the British pound since the referendum in 2016.

The SCB Economic Intelligence Centre say the weaker British pound could dampen the sentiment of British arrivals. They note that UK holidaymakers are among the high spenders in Thailand with 77,600 baht per trip.

“At any rate, since the receipts from British travelers represent only 2.1 percent of the total, the impact on the Thai tourism industry will be insignificant.”

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Doubt over ‘majority support’ in survey about drilling near Si Thep historical park

Tanutam Thawan

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Doubt over ‘majority support’ in survey about drilling near Si Thep historical park | The Thaiger

Locals are up in arms about results from a public hearing into oil drilling project near the Si Thep historical park in Phetchabun province (just north of Bangkok). They are expressing doubt and concern over results of a public hearing that appear to show support for the project.

Thai PBS reports that Mr. Prachuab Narkthien, chairman of the club of village headmen and kamnan in Si Thep district, says he doubted the credibility of the result, which shows 62.6 percent are supportive of the drilling project near the ancient temple.

Since most people in Phetchabun province, especially in Si Thep district, have opposed the project from the beginning, Mr. Prachuab said he wondered where the 62.6 percent figure had come from.

Oil drilling by ECO Orient Resources was put on hold due to strong opposition from the Fine Arts Department and the public for fear that vibrations caused by drilling may damage the fragile ancient ruins, which await recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

Mr. Prachuab said that the public hearing was unusual because only selected people were invited to attend and he was not invited, despite the fact that he represents the district’s cultural network. He went on to say that only officials at provincial and district levels support the project while the general public is against it.

The Fine Arts Department earlier proposed the creation of a buffer zone to project the ancient ruins, believed to be those of a city of some 80,000 people at its peak during the first millennium AD.

Doubt over 'majority support' in survey about drilling near Si Thep historical park | News by The Thaiger

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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis.

Tanutam Thawan

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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | The Thaiger

If history is anything to go on people’s current fears about the Boeing 737 MAX jets will be short-lived.

The make0ver of the venerable 737 plane, the most popular passenger jet in history, was supposed to set Boeing on a path to success. Airlines said it was the plane they wanted – perfect for short-haul, cheap to run, new efficient engines.

Boeing didn’t go down the path of coming up with a new single-aisle jet to compete with the new Airbus 320 Neo series, instead they decided to come up with a revised 737. The revised plane has slightly larger and more powerful engines, is a little higher off the ground, features some new hi-tech construction materials making it lighter, upgraded avionics and, importantly, new software that was meant to make it even safer.

You can identify a 737 MAX because of the two-spoke winglets at the end of the wings.

Now two of the new series 737 MAX have crashed within six months with investigators speaking about ‘similarities’ in the early days of the crash investigation.

Travel site Kayak even added an option to screen out flights using the 737 Max jets.

If panic persisted, the media kept writing stories about it and airlines were unwilling to buy it, the future of Boeing would be in jeopardy.

That’s the current situation. But it also reflects a similar time during a four-month period in late 1965 and early 1966 when four new Boeing 727 jets crashed. Three of the crashes occurred while the planes were attempting to land at US airports. Two of them happened within three days of each other in November 1965. The 727 was the first commercial jet to fly with less than four jet engines.

Like the 737 MAX crashes, the US regulator, the FAA, defended the planes’ safety and refused to ground the 727s at the time. It issued a statement the day after the third fatal 727 crash, saying that it could find no pattern in the crashes. It declined to ground the jet.

At the time Boeing was still riding on its reputation built around the Boeing 707 jet, the first successful commercial passenger jet (the British Comet was the first commercial passenger jet in 1952 but had a series of catastrophic crashes from which it never recovered profitable sales).

Eventually the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created in the wake of the crashes, cleared the 727 and blamed pilot error for the accidents. Pilots were not prepared to fly the 727, and that led to the crashes. The new wings of the revolutionary (for the time) 727 made the plane descend much faster than was possible in the past, giving pilots the chance to slow the planes down faster and land on much shorter runways than the jets of the time, a big selling point.

But the pilots at the controls of the four doomed jets in the 60s were apparently unprepared for how quickly the planes would descend with the new wings.

But Boeing did get past the 727 crisis. Increased training led to safer operation of the plane, and these kinds of crashes ended. Customers soon forgot.

The 727 went on to become the bestselling jet of its time for Boeing. It eventually sold 1,831 of the jets, a lot when flying in jets was still mostly reserved for the ‘jet set’ and people able to afford the expensive ticket prices of the time.

“I don’t know that people will care that much for very long,” says Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 727 and 777 Captain.

“They only worry about the price of the ticket.”

People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | News by The Thaiger

The Boeing 727 suffered four high-profile crashes in the mid 60s and went on to become a flying favourite.

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