You can tell that the political excitement has faded – at least for the moment, thankfully – when I have to return to blogging about mundane topics. After a two-week interruption because of the protests and their aftermath, I finally concluded an errand to the Nissan dealership. Our Cefiro, pushing a dozen years old, is starting to have all the little aches and pains that accompany aging. In this case, it was a dead window motor.
Normally, that wouldn’t be much of a problem, considering that, generally, the weather here in Thailand and, specifically, the polution here in Krunthep rarely allows for windows-down driving. But it was the driver’s window motor that had died and at every expressway toll booth and the entrance to every car park, I had to open my door and reach over it to pay the toll or receive my parking ticket. I felt like the driver of one of those old taxis around town, whose windows no longer roll down.
To get a new motor would have taken twenty days (shipped from Japan!) and would cost 6,000 baht, about US$ 185. Thankfully, the dealership was able to locate a second-hand motor and installed it for only 1600 baht. The expression “second hand” exists in Thai just like in English. Literally, “hand two” as there are no ordinal numbers in Thai. The dealership pointedly explained that they would only warranty “hand two” parts for seven days after installation. What do you want to guess I’ll be blogging about in another two weeks?
While at the dealership, I took a look at the Nissan March, a so-called “eco car” that recently had its debut in Thailand. I have yet to figure out what the “eco car” label means as it doesn’t mean hybrid or electric. [Okay, a little research and I discovered an eco car, the manufacturers of which receive something like a 17% tax credit, are defined as cars with a 1.3 L engine or smaller, get at least 56.5 MPG / 24 KPL, and release less than 192 grams of CO² per mile / 309 grams per kilometer.]
Since our car has been showing more signs of aging, we’re starting to consider what would be an appropriate replacement vehicle. While I like the size and comfort of a midsize car, I don’t think they are very practical or economical when driving here in Krungthep. With the amount of time one spends sitting in traffic, a hybrid would be a great choice. Unfortunately, the Toyota Camry is the only hybrid sold in dealerships here and it is very pricey.
The March has received good reviews in the local auto press and gets high marks for value when compared to the Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz, and Toyota Yaris in the B segment and Cherry A1, Proton Savvy, and Kia Picanto in the A segment. Technically, the March is a B segment car but with a slightly narrower body than most B segment vehicles.
At about a half-million baht (US$ 15,600) it is relatively affordable. I think it is cute enough although not great – I prefer the Yaris. The size is small enough for the narrows sois of Krungthep. Still, I’m not ready to do any serious comparison shopping. It is enough to just start thinking about potential candidates.