Narita Motorcare Cambodia’s managing director says people always need vehicles and pins hopes on a new model to kick-start car consumption
It is hard to believe that the economy will be on hold for the next five years.
LOCAL Nissan distributor Narita Motorcare Cambodia has said new vehicle sales halved in the first six months of this year, reflecting a downward trend in the industry also announced recently by its three larger competitors.
But Narith Long, the firm's managing director, said he expects conditions will improve in 2010. "It is hard to believe that the economy will be on hold for the next five years," he said.
"As a car dealer we retain confidence in the automobile market even when the economy slows - people still need old or new cars to get around in."
Narith Long was pinning some of his recovery hopes on Nissan's new 2009 Navara pickup, which has just arrived in-country.
"This [pickup] is the kind of vehicle that Cambodian customers have been waiting for in 2009," he said, adding that the number of customers walking into his showroom has risen this month. Narita Motorcare Cambodia sold around 350 new cars last year.
Out with the old
He was also encouraged by the incentive put forward last year by Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh to encourage the import of new vehicles by banning pre-2000 second-hand cars, he said.
"If this policy is put in place and properly implemented, then it would certainly help car distributors," Narith Long said.
Consumers would also benefit as newer models had better build-quality and in many cases were more environmentally friendly than old cars, he said.
Tracking real estate
He pointed out that new car sales in Cambodia reflect the real estate market, which has contracted sharply since mid-2008.
"Some customers are awaiting the arrival of new business trends," he said. "They have cash, but they are holding on to it for now."
Toyota distributor TTHK told the Post recently that its sales were down 40 percent in the six months to June 30.
Similar declines were heard from SsangYong distributor Huotraco Automotive, which told the Post it expects the local car market will recover late next year or early 2011.
Mitsu (Cambodia) Co Ltd, which distributes Mitsubishi, said sales were down 70 percent in the first semester. Sales of Fords were reportedly down 20 percent.