Gulliver travels from Japan to Thailand in a used car

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Gulliver travels from Japan to Thailand in a used car

The Japanese used car company Gulliver International has spread its wings into Thailand with a determined drive at developing its used car business in the country.

This move is the first by the prominent Japanese company as a joint venture, giving Thailand’s auto market a real thumbs up. This is despite the current situation, which is not as vibrant as the management within Gulliver think it will be over the long term.

The joint venture company will be known as V-Gulliver and was established in mid-2013 with registered capital of 20 million baht. Given Thailand’s long-standing position with regard to foreign businesses and ownership laws, the locally-based V-Group holds 51 percent. V-Group is the car distributor and service provider and is a subsidiary of Thailand’s leading automotive insurer Viriyah Insurance.

The Japanese-controlled Gulliver International Group holds the remaining 49 percent.

Gulliver first started in business in Japan in 1994 and operates around 500 outlets in that country, with Tokyo as its headquarters. In 2013 it purchased 200,000 cars, 70 percent of them via auction and the remainder from customers.

Gulliver’s first overseas business started in the United States a decade ago and as they have looked to expand further management’s eyes saw Thailand as a good long-term proposition.

The ratio of car owners to households stands at around 86.5 percent in Japan. The overall ratio within ASEAN is around the seven percent mark, but in Thailand, as at 2010, this stood at 13.8 percent. Gulliver management believe this figure will rise significantly in coming years as both Thailand and Indonesia come to dominate the auto market in the Southeast Asian region.

Gulliver International intends to tap into the rest of the ASEAN market as this is expected to expand quite substantially after the introduction of the AEC at the end of 2015.

Gulliver’s used car business is operated at a high standard with regard to buying and on-selling used vehicles. At one end of the spectrum the company only buys top quality used cars and makes sure to pay customers promptly.

This encourages people to view Gulliver as one of the first places to try and sell their used vehicle, knowing that once a deal is signed, payment will be quickly forthcoming.

On the sales side, Gulliver makes sure to market what they consider good quality used vehicles offering a 30-day customer satisfaction buyback policy and a 6-month or 10,000-kilometre free warranty.

So far, the Thai-based operation has invested 10 million baht in its first showroom and has ambitious plans to expand to 100 showrooms nationwide over the coming years.