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Toyota to import used cars

Ä second-hand Lexus awaits potential buyers at the Toyota showroom in Phnom Penh
Ä second-hand Lexus awaits potential buyers at the Toyota showroom in Phnom Penh. CHHIM SREYNEANG

Toyota to import used cars

Toyota Cambodia unveiled plans yesterday to add second-hand vehicles to its showroom in response to consumer preference for less expensive cars and a competitive grey market full of unauthorised dealers.

Kong Nuon, chairman of Toyota Cambodia, the country’s largest car dealer, said that while demand for cars is growing annually, the purchase of second-hand vehicles represents about 93 per cent of the market.

Nuon, however, warned of importers selling second-hand cars without having complete and appropriate maintenance.

“We know the history of all second-hand cars sold at our company, and they come with proper checks on quality.”

At the Toyota showroom yesterday, a second-hand 2005 Lexus RX330 was on sale for $39,500 and a used 2004 Lexus RX330 was valued at $36,000.

The absence of public transport, improved roads and rising middle class incomes has contributed to a steady increase of car ownership in Cambodia, importers say.

Car imports reached 23,662 units last year, a 21 per cent jump from 19,510 units in 2011, according to data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Seng Voeung, the motor vehicle division manager of RMA Cambodia, an authorised Ford dealer, said that Toyota’s second-hand import strategy would not impact his new car business.

“It is not new pressure and we have targeted different market segments,” Voeung said yesterday.

Voeung estimates that Cambodia’s demand for new cars stands at up to more than 3,000 units this year.

Pily Wong, chief executive for the Cambodian distributor of Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, said yesterday that Cambodia’s lax import rules make it an attractive market for second-hand importers, but that risks were also apparent.

“The control is not very strict with pollution and safety standards. It can put customers and other people in danger because the driver doesn’t know his or her car is unsafe to be driven,” Wong said.

Wong welcomed Toyota’s move as consumers are given greater surety of safety standards when dealing with authorised dealers, he said.

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