Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Buying A Truck In Thailand

Earlier I had written about the experience of purchasing a home in Thailand. In that blog I had pointed out that the actual process of buying the house took less time than the time required to change the responsible person on the water bill.

Two days ago we embarked upon the adventure of purchasing a new pick up truck. When I first moved to Isaan, a year ago, we started looking at buying a truck. We did not buy one because of other priorities. During the past year, I researched and learned about buying vehicles in Thailand.

Buying vehicles in Thailand is a great deal simpler than in the USA. First of all, the price is the price. There is no great deal of negotiation. Every dealer charges the same price for a vehicle in a given area. Apparently prices are relatively cheaper in Bangkok, around $800 less on a $24,000 vehicle. However Bangkok is 6 hours drive away or 8-1/2 hour bus trip away. Two round trips would be required with at least one overnight stay.

The other simplification to purchasing vehicles is the lack of choices. In Thailand, unlike the USA, there is not many accessories, trim options, customization items or upgrades available for the consumer to consider. The choice of colors is also very restricted.

We had decided upon a double cab pickup truck and after researching selected Toyota.

Having decided upon a Toyota double cab pickup truck, we were faced with 11 models. Choosing 2 wheel drive rather than 4 wheel drive vehicles, reduced the selection down to 8models. Since we only wanted manual transmission, our choices were pared down to two models with the difference between them being the size of the diesel engine (no option for gasoline engine - only diesel). One model has a 2.5L engine and the other has a 3.0L engine. The difference in price is about $1200 for the larger engine in addition to Anti-lock Braking System so we went with the larger engine model.

We were now faced with deciding on a color - 5 choices were available. We went with the Silver Metalic - just like most people in Isaan who choose the same model.

There was no choices available for the vehicle sound system - you get the standard system.

There was no choice for interior colors, textures, or fabrics - you get the standard.

There was no choice for seating options - you get the standard.

We had decided to go with the Toyota dealership closest to our house - about one mile away. Besides the advantage of it's location, one of Duang's 93 cousins is a salesman there. I had written that the price is the price but there are some things that dealerships do to sweeten the deal for customers if required to close the deal.

A month ago we visited the dealership and met with her cousin. We found out that there was a new version of the model that we wanted coming out soon and they did not have any details on it. I told them that when they had the new brochure and knew the price, to call me or rather call Duang.

The information was finally available earlier this week. Duang's cousin drove over to the house to go over everything with us. I knew that we would have to order the vehicle and would not have it for two weeks. He came by to place the order. Since he is a relative we got the "Freebies" - bed liner, floor mats, one year of class 1 insurance, window wind deflectors, and vehicle registration without having to negotiate, bluster or beg for them. Window tinting was also available but I did not want it - even for free. The roads of Isaan are not illuminated very well. Many times at night I roll down the window of Duang's son's truck to better see when turning at night.

He filled out a form, reviewed my passport to ensure that I had the proper Visa, and inspected my "Yellow Book" (House Registration for a Foreigner Occupant. I gave him 10,000 baht (about $340)as a down payment. Just before the truck is ready he will call us and give us the information so that I can arrange for my bank to electronically transfer the remaining funds to the dealership. The entire process was completed in fifteen minutes.

Our truck will cost $23,740 USD which isn't too bad compared to a comparable vehicle in the USA. However the price of sedans in Thailand is much greater than comparable models in the USA. An entry level Toyota Camry in Thailand costs $37,323 with the top model running $52,323 USD. It is no wonder that Thailand ranks number 2 behind the United states in the number of registered pickup trucks.


  1. Hi, LXA Buddy,
    I am catching up on your blog. You write faster than I read, Ha,Ha. Computer problems over the last few month. Enough excuses. I own a silver Toyota Tacoma half cab automatic and love it. Got 125,000 miles in 4 years.Good tires make a difference and keeping it aligned much harder on your roads. Change oil regularly and it runs like a champ. Had a chance to get a Mercedes and keep the truck. You made a great choose. Have you gotten it yet. J

  2. Not yet. The demand is for the model with 2.5 liter engine. Ours will have the 3.0 liter diesel engine so we have to wait another month ... or so. Every time we pass the dealer on our way into town, I look to see if they have or are off loading our truck. Got excited today but it was a silver 2 door not 4 door - probably had the 2.5L engine.



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