Saturday, 28 May 2011

Vehicle Purchase Considerations

On my recent trip I did a day of foot slogging around the Sungai Penang area of Gerogetown. I managed to take in many of the dealers and have posted below the prices that Honda and Toyota were offering on the MM2H discounted cars I was interested in (where the better benefit is to be had through buying CKD (completely knocked down) as opposed to CBU (completely built up) cars). Apologies if not all vehicle prices are quoted on same basis but different dealers use different listing principles and I was more interested in some vehicles than others. To be fair the dealers all seemed very professional and very switched on to the MM2H scheme:

CRV 2.0 L i-VTEC - RM 105, 298 (with insurance) (sum insured RM 145,000)
Accord 2.0 VTi-L - RM 103,322 (with insurance) (sum insured RM 145,000)

VIOS 1.5 G (AT) - RM 63,500 (non MM2H 87,300)
Fortuner 2.7 V (P) A/T - RM 108,500 (non MM2H RM 177,500)

Disappointingly the Corolla and Avensis models are both CBU so, while there will be some saving on price, the tax is much lower so the value for money in terms the cost of the vehicle if you were to but it locally is not quite so good, depending on how you view 'value'. After 3-5 years though I suspect you'd get better return for your initial outlay if you bought a highly desirable CKD car.

On the CBU front, and particularly with regard to the small town runabout option I also looked at a couple of cars from Perodua:

Alza: I thought this was a cracking little motor. About VW Golf size, very nice interior, good spec (Sat Nav, Bluetooth, reversing cameras). The top of the range 1.5 auto model was RM 69,000 and could doubtless be got down some with MM2H albeit the savings won't be so good as on a CKD car. 3 year warranty (extendable).

MYVI: Very popular on the roads in Penang. Bit smaller than the Alza but still a nice spec level. The top spec with a 1.3 engine and auto comes in around RM 50,000. 5 year warranty.

Of the others I looked at, mainly out of interest and in comparing CBU/CKD prices:

Proton Inspira: A Mitsubishi essentially, very nice levels of trim and a nice looking car. The 2.0L top of the range comes in at around RM 82,000 and would come down some (RM 5,000 - 8,000) with the tax off I suspect.

Hyundai Santa Fe: The 2.4 petrol auto is RM 158,000 and I believe this is a CKD car. Very, very popular in Europe, these vehicles are often raved about by the 4x4 crowd, esp the caravan tuggers, and the levels of spec and comfort are very high. Provided they are CKD and the tax saving is significant it could be a consideration, but even if they could be got for around the RM 1000, 000 mark, I can't help thinking that the money might be better invested in a Honda CRV or Toyota Fortuna which seems to be more 'desirable' when it comes to selling and maybe better on the reliability front, if indeed you feel you need / want a 4x4.

Hyundai Tucson: Again a very popular SUV and the 2.4 auto comes in at around RM 154,000. Same comments regarding the Santa fe on this.

Three things I have been considering since I started to look into vehicle options in Penang:

1) 4x4s and petrol prices: Fuel prices are nowhere near as prohibitive in Malaysia as they are in Europe, at least yet. But will that stay the case? In some cases, people can't give 4x4s away in the UK now at £1.35 a litre to fill them up and certainly not get back anything like what they paid for them. Some praise the height, protection and long-distance comfort of 4x4s. Depends what you will use it for I suppose. I'm not so sure.

2) Related to the above, couple of people I spoke to in Penang (one who imported a CRV and a local who also bought one) said that they wish they hadn't. The importer actually said that if he had the time again, he'd buy a local hatchback/runabout for the mall/beach/town runs (where the small size adds to the ease of driving and parking somewhat) and hire a luxury car for the rare occasions he'd need one. Worth considering IMHO.

3) The other aspect is exporting from the UK. I have yet to explore the costs of this (freight etc.) and whether you get the VAT back on a new one (which I assume must be the case). Part of me thinks it's just too much hassle though and I really wonder if export is worth it? I certainly I would not consider driving anything in Penang that was not common on the roads (and therefore likely be cheap to maintain) and desirable (for after sales). My experience with the reliability of the so called prestige brands such as BMW and Audi leaves me slightly less than convinced on the badge value for money. Furthermore, I often find dealers better disposed to sorting out problems if you bought the vehicle from them than if you just take it to them for service, warranty issues would also need careful scrutiny.

Finally, I was driven in a Peugeot 308 a couple of times whilst in Penang. Now these are VERY popular in Europe (What Car car of the year 2010 IIRC), have a very nice design and a very nice level of spec. As a CKD car in Malaysia I suspect the deal on one of these could be good, subject to the parts and service being a reasonable price. One to ponder for me for sure.

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