V-Gulliver expects mileage in used cars
Tokyo: V-Gulliver Co, a joint venture between used-car dealer Gulliver International and a leading Thai insurance firm, aims to modernise Thailand's used-car business in terms of quality, convenience and variety.
"Prices of used cars in Thailand have been declining as a result of the first-time car buyer scheme of the previous government. But in the long term the market has high growth potential because the ratio of car ownership per household is still low compared with Japan,” said Katsushi Nomura, managing director of Japan-based V-Gulliver.
The joint venture was formed last year between Gulliver and V-Group, a subsidiary of Viriyah Insurance, Thailand's leading auto insurer.
Mr Nomura said used-car dealerships in Thailand are either manufacturer-operated or independent.
The former offer high-quality used cars but lack variety, while the latter offer variety but prices are variable and often the sources of cars are unknown to customers.
"There is no one in the used-car market that offers high-quality products, convenience and variety to consumers. This is the area that V-Gulliver will occupy," Mr Nomura said.
Part of V-Gulliver's push to modernise Thailand's market will include its purchase and sale assessment system to improve transparency for car prices.
In Japan, prices at Gulliver are gathered from basic information such as the vehicle's make, model, year, mileage and condition. They are then evaluated based on its sales of more than 3 million cars.
“While prices at V-Gulliver showrooms in Thailand may be slightly more than at other independent dealerships, our customers can be sure of the quality and reliability of the vehicle,” said Mr Nomura.
While Gulliver is well known in Japan, Thais are not familiar with the brand. Next year, V-Gulliver will begin a marketing drive to improve its brand recognition.
It will target middle-income customers looking for good-quality used cars.
V-Gulliver has showrooms in Bangkok (Srinakarin Road and Nawamin Road) and Nakhon Sawan, with others to open soon in Chiang Mai and Samut Prakan.
Another 10 franchised showrooms should open by the end of the year. It plans to expand to 100 showrooms next year and to reach 300 in 2016.
V-Gulliver offers its franchisees increased sales volume, marketing and shared inventories.
“I am confident that it is achievable because even without actively looking to attract new franchisees, 40 people have already asked about working with us,” Mr Nomura said.