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Car concerns driven home

My concern is the old scrap and used cars [which are] sold  in this market and risk lives. The market is full of these cars

CAMBODIA’S car dealers are forming an association to represent industry concerns, such as “life-threatening” risks posed by poor quality imports.

Rami Sharaf, group country manager for Ford importer RMA (Cambodia), said the Cambodia Automotive Industry Chamber was presently undergoing registration.

The main concern for RMA, which he said was driving the initiative, was to address the general poor quality of used vehicle imports.

“My concern is the old scrap and used cars [which are] sold in this market and risk lives. The market is full of these cars,” he told The Post during a trip to southern Laos.

According to the 2010 Doing Business in Cambodia report from the United States Commercial Service, the “vast majority” of vehicles on the road are second-hand imports.

Rami Sharaf claims increasing tax rates and import duties for used vehicles rather than new autos would help reduce the number of “sub-par” automobiles in operation.

“Many of these cars were involved in fatal accidents in the US and in Europe, and they were brought here as scrap cars and converted to brand new shiny cars. This is life-threatening – they should not be on the road,” he said.

However, used car dealers said they opposed a high tax on used imports yesterday.

Chet Phally, a car dealer near Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, said Cambodia’s economic situation had to be taken into account when formulating policy on auto taxes.

“Most Cambodians have no ability to buy a new car,” he said. “Used cars are at a more suitable price.”

RMA claims the Ford brand presently controls around 25 percent market share, with its pick-up trucks being particularly popular due to their privileged import tax status, said  Rami Sharaf.

The firm faces competition from brands such as Toyota, but Rami Sharaf claimed Ford’s heritage set it apart.

RMA wrapped up its fourth Ford Adventure on Sunday, which saw hundreds of Cambodian Ford owners travel in a convoy to Laos.

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