Savings of Nu 500,000-600,000 can be made given the Japanese currency value today

Import: The fall in Japanese currency (Yen) recently has turned out to be a boon for Bhutanese aspiring to buy Toyota luxury cars.  The State Trading corporation of Bhutan limited (STCBL) in Phuentsholing has confirmed 115 vehicle orders.

The highest order placed this year, according to STCBL figures, has been for February with 53 vehicles.  January and March has 31 orders each.

Of the total ordered vehicles, 48 are Prados, 22 are Hiluxes, and nine are RAV4 vehicles, while the remaining 36 are coaster and Hiace buses.

A manager at STCBL, Dilliram Adhikari, said the bumper orders received were because of the fall in the value of Yen. “The queries have increased drastically along with demand,” the manager said.

Dilliram Adhikari said buyers could benefit a difference of Nu 500,000-600,000 with the Yen value today.  The cost of a Prado (full option) before was around Nu 3.6M (without taxes).  Today the car comes for Nu 2.95M.

The Japanese Yen value started falling in October in 2014 and has been sliding since then.

Today the value of a Yen in Bhutanese currency is Nu 0.525.  In October last year, the Yen was around Nu 0.64.

In 2014, STCBL was able to sell 86 Toyota vehicles.  Today, about 29 vehicles are already in transit, while 25 are in shipment stage.

The transit stage is when the vehicles are being transported from Kolkata to Phuentsholing, and the shipment is when the vehicles are brought to Kolkata from Japan.

Meanwhile, Zimdra Automobiles also sold about 500 vehicles last year, most of which occurred after the ban on import was lifted in July.

However, today all authorised car dealers, especially those that deal with Indian cars, are having a tough time, following the increase in Indian excise duty this month.

A manager with Zimdra said customers, who had booked vehicles at the price before the excise duty changed, are complaining.

“They booked at the old price, which is less, but will now have to bear the new price,” the manager said. “There are some who understand, but most don’t.”

Although any increase in tax has to be borne by customers, as per Zimdra reservation rules, the company has now decided to compensate its customers by providing car accessories.

After the excise duty revision in India, the price of an Alto (standard) car has climbed to Nu 384,140 from the earlier price of Nu 369,880.  This is the lowest revision impact.  The highest is on the Ertiga (full option) that has climbed to Nu 1.061M from the previous Nu 1.015M.

Although Zimdra didn’t share numbers on how many customers have been affected because of the excise duty change in India, Kuensel sources said that there are close to 100.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing