Chiang Mai used car dealers rev up amid economic turmoil

Photo courtesy of Pattaya Mail

Chiang Mai’s used car dealerships are on the brink of collapse as they battle economic woes and intense price wars. The once-thriving market is now a battleground, with many dealerships shutting their doors while the survivors cling on by the skin of their teeth.

The surge in repossessed vehicles and stricter financing regulations have only added fuel to the fire. Yet, for savvy buyers, this crisis spells opportunity. Teerapat Phisut, a seasoned used car dealer in Chiang Mai, paints a grim picture of the current landscape.

“This is the toughest it’s been in 25 years of selling cars. It’s worse than during Covid. Car prices keep dropping, and even when we buy them at what we think is a low price, they drop further. Since the beginning of the year, it’s been nothing but stress. The banks are thoroughly screening customers, and there aren’t many buyers.”

Teerapat has been forced to sell cars at a significant loss, sometimes hundreds of thousands of baht, just to stay in business. To attract buyers, he’s rolled out enticing promotions such as zero down payments, two-year warranties, and 24-hour emergency assistance. Customers with good credit can even get cash-back deals.

Other dealerships are also pulling out all the stops. Employees have taken to live-streaming sales pitches and offering a slew of promotions, discounts, and after-sales services. Despite these desperate efforts, the market remains sluggish.

Boonthanom Phisut, Chairman of the Chiang Mai Used Car Dealers Association, likens the situation to a boxer leaning against the ropes.

“We’re battered by economic conditions, a surge in repossessed vehicles, and fierce competition from new electric and gasoline cars.”

Only a small fraction of customers pass financing screenings, and fluctuating used car prices make sales even more challenging.

While the plight of the dealers is dire, consumers with the means to buy are reaping the benefits. High-quality used cars are available at significantly reduced prices, a silver lining in an otherwise bleak scenario, reported Pattaya Mail.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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