Attendees checked the all-new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (2015 Thailand International Motor Expo)

2015 Thailand International Motor Expo: Mitsubishi captures Thai market through door-to-door method

Mitsubishi Motors launched the all-new Mirage eco car while setting up the Triton pickup truck and the Pajero Sport; they will also utilize all kinds of strategies for the Thai market. Executive Vice President Koji Nakahara, who manages the sales in Mitsubishi Motors Thailand, talked about how they can capture the hearts of Thai automobile owners.

Thai automobile owners have the tendency to lean towards accessories (parts), and many of them are particular when it comes to the vehicle’s exterior. The most popular among its equipped parts are the keyless entry system, navigation system, auto air conditioning, leather seats, daytime running lamps, rear view cameras, among others.

Among these features is the navigation system, which is transferrable to smartphones. Furthermore, they say that the auto air conditioning feature was available only on demand in Southern countries, and as for Thailand where heaters are not really necessary, many prefer to equip their vehicles with coolers instead of air conditioning functions. In other words, most of them prefer to have adjustments of the cooling system by intensifying its cool temperature. Automobile owners, who look for high-quality equipment in cars, can feel the delight in “a class higher than its original class” via an air conditioner that has an adjustable temperature.

Another interesting feature which is also popular in Thailand is the sunroof. When you think about the condition in Thailand, there’s no need to equip vehicles with sunroof, but the sunroof somewhat holds a reputation, and they say it’s a promising type of equipment. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi equipped the Pajero Sport and the Mirage with various safety equipment like collision avoidance system, and they have also been working on to attract customers through an approach that’s different from other automakers.

Actually, some would say that popularity of cars in Thailand changes through word of mouth. Thailand is second to Japan when it comes to the number of LINE users; they also have a huge bulletin board-like material for it.

The strategy of selling cars in Thailand is a bit different from Japan. The 2015 Thailand International Motor Expo is also a place for negotiation as there are many customers who purchase cars in event venues in Thailand, and not only through dealerships. They can sell cars not only in huge motor shows, but also in business expos conducted in shopping malls and department stores. Aside from that, customers can also order cars through door-to-door sales service—a rather old method for Mitsubishi. For pioneer customers in particular regions, there are also many cases in which the door-to-door sales method, which seem to be original, brings about effective results.

Thai households really give importance to cars as huge asset. The Japanese have the tendency to deposit money and buy cars once they have already saved ample amount of money. On the other hand, Thais have a tendency to buy cars when they have extra living expenses and repay it through loans. Specifically, there are customers who purchase low-priced cars through loan, and repay it within eight years as the longest term.

Thailand’s average annual income is 330,000 baht (approximately 1.13 million yen), and urban areas like Bangkok have a higher rate of around 537,000 baht (approximately 1.84 million yen). The most reasonable price for the Mirage cars is worth 383,000 baht (approximately 1.31 million yen). It can be said that their living expense is a lot higher compared to Japan’s, but even so, eco cars like the Mirage is one pillar that supports motorization in Thailand.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)