Govt. recovers Nu 28.38 million in revenue  

Staff Reporter

If the virtual auction held on Saturday was any indication, Bhutanese craze for Toyota Prados, whether old or new, is still strong.

The  Department of National Properties put up 19 Prados (GX) that are all 14 years old. The old vehicles were recalled from the dzongkhags after serving as the “duty cars’ for the dzongdags. The dzongdags received new Toyota Fortuners as duty cars.

The auction announced a month ago saw hundreds of people coming to the DNP garage at Changzamtog where the vehicles were parked. More than 300 people bought the documents to take part in the auction. On Saturday, only 170 participated in the bidding.

However, there were almost nine people competing to purchase an old Prado. At the end of the auction, 12 people bought the 19 Prados paying between Nu 1.3 million (M) and Nu 1.7M. The government received Nu 28.389M in revenue from the sale of the 2008-made Prados.

DNP officials refused to share the details of the winning bids, but Kuensel found that a few bidders bid for all the 19 Prados in the hope of winning at least one. A bidder, K T Wangyal said he bid  Nu 1.17 M and his friend bid Nu 1.25M for all the 19 Prados. The idea was to keep one and sell the rest at a profit.

Known for its performance, the SUV is in huge demand with people saying it is better to buy an old Toyota Prado than a new SUV made by other companies. Toyota Prado and Landcruiser, it is believed as a symbol of social status in the country.

Although the claims couldn’t be independently verified, some bidders said that some of the Prados were sold a few minutes after the auction with a huge profit margin. “I wanted to repair it, change the colour and sell it for a huge profit,” said one bidder who said he bid for the Tsirang dzongdag’s Prado. “We can easily make at least Nu 300,000 in profit within an hour if we won,” he said regretting not increasing the bid. He was short on Nu 70,000 of the minimum bid of Nu 1.3M.

Another bidder also bid for all the 19 Prados. The old SUV were in running condition, some with new tyres. This time as the vehicles were called to DNP suddenly, vehicle components or parts were not removed or replaced.

  Some bidders bid for all the 19 Prados