Driving in Phnom Penh, it’s hard not to notice all the large, gas-guzzling SUVs clogging the roadways from Toul Kourk to Boeung Keng Kang.
A legacy of Cambodia’s UNTAC era when the United Nations and NGOs first shipped them in bearing UN logos, they’ve become the symbol of wealth and success of the older Cambodian drivers – but Peter Brongers, the CEO of BMW Cambodia hopes to change that.
“There’s an obsession with huge cars in Cambodia. This made sense 20 years ago, but nowadays,with improving road conditions and so many cars on the road, it doesn’t any longer. You certainly don’t need a large car to drive around Phnom Penh comfortably, says Brongers.
Automotive technology is advancing constantly, cars are getting more fuel efficient, the engines are getting “cleaner” and of course safety standards are improving dramatically.
That is why with the increasing spending power of the Cambodian consumers, more and more customers are turning to the official importers and buying new cars or certified used cars. “It’s important that the official dealers, such as BMW, provide cars that are made specifically for local conditions, the engines are tuned for Euro3 fuel, the right filters are installed, etc.” Of course, the fact that official dealers give the customers peace of mind with 4 or 5 years warranty and service included in the purchase price makes a big difference.
BMW releases the sixth generation of its flagship 7 Series sedan this winter - a car that will be the most technologically advanced and comfortable luxury sedan available in the world.
The new 7 Series is lighter and stronger than its predecessor, built with carbon fibre reinforced polymer - meaning the sedan is some 130 kilos lighter than the previous generation. This improves its unique driving characteristics, says Brongers.
The cars also have air suspension and dynamic shock absorption to adjust to any potholes or bumps in the road, an automated parking system, a driver assistance system to improve safety and gesture controlled functions for driver and passenger. BMW expects the 7 Series to attract the most demanding customers of luxury cars in Cambodia.
BMW is the leading importer of German luxury cars in Cambodia and is slowly increasing market share, just as the German luxury car producer has previously conquered Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and most other countries in Asia. “BMW’s target group, the majority is well educated, travels a lot, successful in business, dynamic and young to middle age. Our customers appreciate ‘Ultimate Driving Pleasure’, and that is what only BMW has to offer,” Brongers said.
A unique offer from BMW Cambodia is that drivers have a chance to trade in their cars for a new model at the end of four years, with BMW paying back half of the value of the car.
For buyers with less funding available to buy a new BMW, BMW offers a number of financing options with Cambodian banks, as well as a growing fleet of pre-owned cars with an extended warranty and engines tuned to local road conditions.