We went to take a look at the Phnom Penh Auto Show taking place on Koh Pich Island from October 30th to November 2nd.
Most of the official dealers were present, including BMW, Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mazda, Nissan, Chevrolet, Toyota, Mitsubishi and MG (a newcomer in Cambodia).
They are clearly trying to take a hold in a market dominated by imported used cars mostly from Japan, USA and Korea. There is simple reason for this: import taxes on new cars exceed 100%, and in a country where GDP per capita is $1000, most buyers don’t have a choice but to buy cheap used cars from other markets. But it looks like new car dealers might stand a real chance: A brand new Nissan Navara LE full option with a 3-year warranty costs $43500, compared to a $30 000 used one from 2008.
BMW showed 9 models, with prices ranging from $68800 to $231800. Even this X4 xDrive28i costs $98800, comparable to gray market importers. BMW showed 9 models, with prices ranging from $68800 to $231800. Even this X4 xDrive28i costs $98800, comparable to gray market importers.
Toyota had a strong presence as expected, but offered the lowest discounts on cars purchased at the show – a free iPhone 6, compared to $2000-$3000 price cuts by other dealers. An interesting piece was Toyota Fortuner, which goes for $56000 (diesel, 4WD, full option, 3 year warranty), and can’t be easily found in Phnom Penh.
A brand new Camry priced at $52000 is comparable or even a bit cheaper than can be found in many shops out there.
Among the others at the show were Mitsubishi, with cars from $22900 to $51900 (Pajero Sport), Ford $39000 to $94000 (3.5L V6 Explorer, full option, back and front camera), Mazda $36000-$51900 (Mazda 6), Chevrolet $21000-$64500 (Chevy Malibu).
British carmaker Morris Garages introduced 3 models: hatchback MG 3, Sedan MG 6 and a luxury piece MG 750FL. The last one is actually very competitive in terms of price and features. For $60000 you can get 2 year warranty, full option, DVD player, GPS tracking, V6 2.5L engine.
Automotive industry in Cambodia is growing rapidly, and will get another bump when the country enters ASEAN in 2015. Official dealers have put a “foot in the door”, but gray market imports of used cars will probably still rule the market for more years to come.
To search for new and used cars in Cambodia, visit www.motokh.com