• Short Summary

    BANGKOK, JUNE 5, REUTER -- THE PRIVATE MOTOR CAR HAS BECOME SUCH AN IMPORTANT STATUS SYMBOL IN THAILAND THAT THE AVERAGE WORKER IS PLUNGING DEEP INTO DEBT TO OWN ONE.

  • Description

    BANGKOK, JUNE 5, REUTER -- THE PRIVATE MOTOR CAR HAS BECOME SUCH AN IMPORTANT STATUS SYMBOL IN THAILAND THAT THE AVERAGE WORKER IS PLUNGING DEEP INTO DEBT TO OWN ONE.

    MANY PEOPLE RATE A CAR AHEAD OF A HOME IN THEIR LIST OF PRIORITIES. THEY ARE NOT DETERRED IN THE LEAST BY THE FACT THEY CANNOT REALLY AFFORD ONE.

    WHEN A MAN BUYS A CAR HE IMMEDIATELY CONSIDERS HIMSELF MIDDLE CLASS, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT HE MIGHT BE LIVING IN SUB-STANDARD HOUSING OR SLUMS.

    HE IS NOT DISCOURAGED BY THE CLOGGED STREETS OF BANGKOK, ONE OF THE MOST CONGESTED CITIES IN ASIA, AND THE LIKELIHOOD THAT HE WILL OFTEN BE STUCK FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS IN A TRAFFIC JAM.

    NEITHER IS HE PUT OFF BY THE SPIRALLING COST OF A NEW CAR, AS A RESULT OF TAXES AND DUTIES RISING BY 130 PER CENT IN THE LAST THREE YEARS.

    LAST YEAR 14,000 CARS WERE SOLD IN THAILAND, AN INCREASE OF 3,000 OVER 1971, MOST FIND THEIR WAY ON TO THE STREETS OF BANGKOK, ALREADY CHOKED WITH SOME 250,000 VEHICLES.

    A NEW CAR CAN COST ANYTHING FROM TWO TO TEN TIMES THE TOTAL YEARS SALARY OF THE AVERAGE THAI WORKER.

    +PEOPLE EARNING 2,000 TO 3,000 BAHT (40 TO 60 STERLING) A MONTH ARE TRYING TO OWN A CAR, THINKING IT IS A SOCIAL SYMBOL THEY CANNOT DO WITHOUT, + SAID ONE CAR SALESMAN HERE.

    BUT BUYING A CAR ON A MONTHLY INCOME OF 2,000 TO 3,000 BATH PUTS THE OWNER INTO DEBT FOR YEARS.

    A SMALL JAPANESE SEDAN COSTS AROUND 70,000 BATH (1,400 STERLING) ANEW, A FAMILY SEDAN ABOUT 90,000 BATH (1,800 STERLING).

    MANY BUYERS HAVE TO GET HELP FROM THEIR RELATIVES TO MEET THE HIRE PURCHASE REPAYMENTS. SOME JUST CANNOT MANAGE AND POLICE REPORT INCREASING CASES OF DEALERS TRYING TO RECOVER THEIR MONEY FROM OWNERS WHO FAILED TO KEEP UP THEIR INSTALMENTS.

    THEN, HAVING BOUGHT THE CAR, THERE IS THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OF PARKING WHICH CAN BE CONSIDERABLE.

    WITH LAND PRICES SKY HIGH IN BANGKOK, GARAGE SPACE IS AT A PREMIUM.

    MANY OWNERS WHO LIVE IN MULTI-STOREY BLOCKS OR FLATS OR SMALL HOUSES IN OVERCROWDED SUBURBS HAVE TO RENT PARKING SPACES AT ROADSIDE SERVICE STATIONS AND GARAGES. THIS CAN LEAVE THEM A MILE (TWO KILOMETRES) OR MORE TO WALK HOME.

    BUT THESE DISADVANTAGES ARE FAR OUTWEIGHED IN THE EYES OF MANY BY THE SOCIAL STANDING TO BE DERIVED FROM OWNING A CAR.

    THEY FEEL THE CAR, ACCORDING TO MAKE AND PRICE, ACCORDS THEM EQUAL STATUS WITH HIGH-RANKING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

    THE GOVERNMENT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS BY LAYING DOWN THE PRICE RANGE OF CARS FOR DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT SERVANTS.

    A CABINET MINISTER IS ALLOWED 300,000 BATH (6,000 STERLING) -- THE PRICE OF A BIG MERCEDES BENZ. A DEPUTY MINISTER IS ENTITLED O SPEND NO MORE THAN 250,000 BATH (5,000 STERLING) ON A CAR.

    ???N UNDER SECRETARY OR MILITARY OFFICER OF FULL GENERAL'S RANK MUST BE CONTENT WITH A CAR COSTING NOT MORE THAN 200,000 BATH (4,000 STERLING).

    MAJOR AND LIEUTENANT GENERALS AND CIVILIAN DIRECTOR-GENERALS OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS CAN ONLY RIDE AROUND IN OFFICIAL FOUR-CYLINDER CARS. OTHER OFFICERS AND HIGH-RANKING CIVIL SERVANTS ARE RESTRICTED TO SMALL CARS LIKE FIATS OR VOLKSWAGENS.

    THUS ON THIS SCALE OF VALUES, A HAWKER WHO BUYS HIMSELF A VOLKSWAGEN CONSIDERS HIMSELF JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A COLONEL WITH THE SAME CAR.

    THE STATUS SYMBOL ON WHEELS MATTERS MORE TO THE HAWKER THAN THE FACT THAT HE HAS PROBABLY PUT HIMSELF IN DEBT UP TO HIS NECK.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4VT9H7IFVPQRRYK1W0X7B0NNM
    Media URN:
    VLVA4VT9H7IFVPQRRYK1W0X7B0NNM
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/06/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:00:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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