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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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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

The Thaiger

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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Chinese foreign policy – On track

The Thaiger

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Chinese foreign policy – On track | The Thaiger

by Nikkei Asia Review

“When Japanese trading house Itochu and train maker Hitachi withdrew from a soon-to-be-decided $7 billion tender for a high-speed rail project near Bangkok, it appeared to be another victory for China and its grand plans to connect Southeast Asia with railways.

Thailand has for decades been the centerpiece of Tokyo’s strategy for Southeast Asia, and long-discussed plans to build extensive shinkansen-style rail lines in the country’s east and north were meant to cement the relationship between the two nations.

But while Japan’s ambitions have been stalled by disagreements about financing and other details, Beijing has managed to push ahead with construction of a separate high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. To some, the rail projects are a symbol of China’s growing influence in a country where Japan had spent decades building ties.”

The article predicts that the Chinese investment into South East Asian rail services is part of its broader ‘belt and road’ policy that is stretching out into new routes and connecting regions, and China, with hitherto remote parts of the asian continent.

“China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok, however. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.”

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

China’s reach southwards will allow it to exert greater political influence on places like Singapore which, for now, still retains strong connections to Washington. Investing in high-speed railways all the way from China’s borders to the tip of the Malay Peninsula is a lot more than just an economic investment, it’s a high-profile symbol of China’s new influence in the region where issues such as ‘Taiwan’ and it’s demands in the South China Sea have caused prickly negotiations with the ASEAN countries.

But to reach Singapore, China must first get Malaysia on side…

“A dramatic recent shift in Malaysian politics has put China’s plans for Singapore on hold, however. After his election in May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to hold up “for now” the $20 billion 688-km east coast rail line connecting southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, and postpone for two years a 350-km high-speed rail link between the Malaysian capital and Singapore.”

The article says that these ‘investments’ are actually just loans for high-priced infrastructure that often cannot be repaid by smaller economies….

“China typically provides loans, not grants, for foreign infrastructure projects, and takes possession of the project if the recipient is unable to repay its debt – as happened with a port in Sri Lanka. Such instances have prompted critics in the West to accuse China of practicing ‘debt diplomacy’.”

Read more of this fascinating and important article from Nikkei Asia Review HERE.

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites

The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites | The Thaiger

Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.

Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.

Read more about this story from News BTC HERE.

(Thaiger Bites provides these short snippets for stories we believe of interest to our readers)

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