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