ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Nissan unhappy with Thai car plan
Nissan is unhappy with the government's first-time car buyer program, saying the excise tax rebate for the passenger car purchases distorts competition. "The tax rebate for cars is complicated, confusing and questionable," said Toru Hasegawa, the president of Nissan Motor Thailand.
"Some carmakers are happy with the scheme but others are unhappy. Even some consumers are not satisfied with the tax rebate as well."
Nissan has become the latest in a long list of carmakers to criticize the programme, even though its popular March eco-car is eligible for the tax rebate.
The Japanese carmaker pioneered the development of eco-cars, a new segment that has received substantial encouragement from the Thai government and attracted billions of baht in new investment by carmakers.
The government approved a 17 percent excise tax rate for eco-cars to make the prices of the small, fuel-efficient vehicles attractive to consumers. However, other subcompact models are taxed at 30 percent and the rebate could be as much as 100,000 baht, making their prices very close to those of eco-cars.
Mr. Hasegawa said the narrowing of the price gap between eco-cars and other small cars would discourage purchases of eco-cars, which the government has been aggressively promoting as a new product champion after pickup trucks.
Despite the challenges ahead, Nissan aims to increase its market share in Thailand from 7.4% in the 2010 fiscal year to at least 15 percent by 2016, he said.
The company will introduce 10 new models during the period, starting with a new eco-car sedan called the Almera on October 7.
"I'm sure the eco-car sedan will further strengthen Nissan as the true leader in the eco-car segment in Thailand," said Mr Hasegawa.
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