Years ago, it appeared that purchasing a used automobile was a prudent and practical thing to do because it was much more affordable compared to acquiring a brand new vehicle. Fast forward to 2013, industry experts concur that used car dealerships are having a difficult time in this market as potential car owners are shifting towards new rather than used.
Speaking with The Nation in September, Somchai Trakulpirom, general manager of Master Certified Used Cars, noted that the used car industry needs to make adjustments in its business model and provide better offers than what is presently being offered by their counterparts.
The difficult market, for instance, is suggesting that consumers are buying because of the attractive promotions that are being listed, such as zero down payment, low interest, inexpensive bi-weekly or monthly payments and other special promotions – stronger offers are even expected as dealerships attempt to clear out their inventories.
Most of these heightened promotions have been running since the summer and have been fueled because of the federal government’s first-car-buy initiative launched last year. Dealers are looking to build upon its new car sales growth it has been experiencing for quite a while now.
In addition, with the rise of smaller, smart cars, they’re maintaining a price that is just as affordable as a superior, used vehicle model: the Chevrolet Spark LS is $12,995, Smart ForTwo Pure is $13,240 and the Nissan Versa S Sedan is $12,780.
Anuchart Deeprasert of the Thai Hire Purchase Association reported that finance lenders have found a 20 percent reduction in used car loans – other estimates suggest as much as 30 percent. However, the organization did say that it expects used car purchases to return to normal growth sometime next year.
Furthermore, used vehicles, according to Trakulpirom, consist of a depreciation rate of between 10 and 25 percent. This means bad debts equates to fewer loans and financial institutions are becoming fastidious in approving loans due to the large number of high rate of bad debts.
“For example, the first-car-buyer scheme, which at first looked attractive because of the increased production volume and cash flow, has been responsible for stealing future demand,” Trakulpirom told the news media outlet. “Some buyers made purchases under the scheme to make a direct profit, while some buyers who would not be able to afford a vehicle in normal conditions are now facing difficulties in paying the monthly installments, and are allowing the vehicles to be repossessed by the finance companies, resulting in a large number of bad debts.”
He added: “If finance companies have a large number of repossessed vehicles, they will be more careful with loan approvals and deny more applications. Demand for used cars is now controlled by financing requirements.”
Last month, forecasters and analysts predicted softer prices and an enhanced used vehicle selection in 2014. This is due in part to the sheer number of eight- to 12-year-old cars that currently need to be replaced. Although most concur that prices of used vehicles will not plummet, it is believed that smaller and mid-sized cars will experience the highest price drop because of competition in that market base.
Nevertheless, with the Motor Expo 2013 gearing up, auto manufacturers and dealers may unite and increase its promotions, such as a low-down-payment offer for civil servants and state-enterprise officers as well as even a grace period.
The sales of 98,000 vehicles per month are surely an incentive for both manufacturer and dealer to persist in running these campaigns to draw in more consumers throughout 2014.