[Back] Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 09:31:17 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
From: Lynn August Linse <linsela@ROBUSTDC.COM>
Subject: FWD: TH: Foreigners eyeing repossessed luxury cars

Foreigners eyeing repossessed luxury cars

AFP, in The Nation (Bangkok)
29 December 1997

BANGKOK -- Foreign businessmen were eyeing cheap deals among a welter of luxury cars repossessed from Thailand's "formerly wealthy" as the economic downturn worsened, a report said yesterday. The move could provide an unexpected foreign-exchange windfall for cash-strapped Thailand, The Nation said.

Entrepreneurs from Britain and Brunei had shown "interest in buying a large number" of imported luxury vehicles given up by their newly-impoverished owners.

"The proposal is a good idea," Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Supachai Phistvanich told the newspaper.

"It could help solve our problem of too many repossessed cars as well as attract foreign money."

He said he had ordered officials to look into whether customs duties and taxes already paid on the cars could be returned to dealers to allow them to resell the cars at attractive prices.

He said he would brief Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda today. "The return of the import taxes will be pursued if initial approval is granted," he added.

Mr Supachai said he was raising the matter at the request of representatives of luxury-car manufacturers and exporters, led by Mr Wasant Phophimphanon, head of the Thonglor Group, which deals in Mercedes-Benz cars.

Dealers of expensive foreign cars, like the Mercedes-Benz models, want to get rid of excess vehicles as the domestic market shrinks dramatically.

Mr Supachai said companies in other countries had also shown interest but were put off by the high prices of the cars after tax.

Most of the vehicles were still in good condition and no more than one or two years old, the paper said.

Thousands of luxury cars had also been repossessed from owners who defaulted on payments.

Many were seized by finance companies which were subsequently shut down by the authorities.

Finance-company workers said garages across the city were clogged with sleek vehicles, once the status symbols of the country's booming middle class but now gathering dust. However, amid the economic gloom, there was some good news. With all the luxury cars off the road, motorists said Bangkok's traffic problems had eased slightly.

-- AFP.

Copyright =A9 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lynn August Linse, linsela@robustdc.com
Robust DataComm Pte Ltd, 221 Henderson Road #04-10
Singapore 159557, Ph(65)272-2340 Fx(65)272-0582

[World History Archives] [Gateway to World History] [Images from World History] [Hartford Web Publishing]