June 27, 2012 00:00 By Pattanadesh Asasappakij
Many Thais believe in the saying "cheap things aren't good and good things aren't cheap".
This belief has caused certain manufacturers and retailers to mark up the prices of their products.
But many times, just looking at the price is not enough. More expensive products have more functions or last longer than their cheaper counterparts. This is where the term “value-for-money” comes from.
Automobiles are still classified as luxury items that are not necessary. But for many people, if they don’t have a vehicle their occupation would be in jeopardy. So for this group of people, automobiles are a necessity in life, just like clothing.
Automobiles, like other products, are available at various prices depending on the model or trim level. So this raises the question: Which one has the best value?
Although I have been campaigning for more than 15 years for car buyers to choose the lowest trim level or what Thais call “low option model”, as much as 70 per cent of buyers usually opt for the “full option” model.
Well, after buying a vehicle, it is actually possible to make it cheaper or increase its value. All you need is to use all the functions as often as you can. If you don’t, you will be spending money on features that you are not using.
For example, if you purchase a 4WD pickup truck – which is about 20 per cent more expensive than a 2WD version – and never engage the 4WD system, you are wasting your money. In this case you can save a lot of money by purchasing a 2WD model.
Or if you always drive alone, then purchasing a double-cab pickup (which is bound to be five times higher in annual tax than regular pickups), is also a waste of money.
Some people spend a lot of money to purchase a hybrid vehicle, believing they can save cash on fuel. However, they don’t use the car much – less than 15,000km per year. In this case the fuel savings will not cover the price difference between the hybrid and a normal car.
To determine whether a vehicle is expensive (apart from value and usage), it also depends on the satisfaction and financial status of the buyer.
For example, Mr A has Bt10 billion and buys a sports car worth Bt20 million. However, he drives it less than 3,000km per year and finds it difficult to exceed speeds of 120km/h due to Bangkok traffic. But he bought the car because he loves the design and the brand heritage. In this case, it is a fair investment because of the personal satisfaction and financial strength of the buyer.
In conclusion, the retail pricing of a vehicle is not as important as how you plan to use it, and it also depends on the financial capability of the buyer.