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Cambodia 2016 Photo: The cars of Siem Reap

1. Toyota Prius Siem ReapToyota Prius leaving the south gate to Angkor Thom temple – January 2016.

After Phnom Penh, our second and last stop in Cambodia is in Siem Reap, the second largest city in Cambodia and the gateway town to the world heritage site of Angkor Wat. Even though the region is extremely touristy, the level of wealth is markedly lesser than that of Phnom Peng, as evidenced by the even higher ration of used imports in town and the tiny amount of new vehicles.

Angkor Wat temple, picture by Sam Garza

In the four days I spent in town, I only spotted eight new gen Hilux Revo, two new gen Ford Ranger and one new gen Toyota Avanza. It would appear the Hilux leads the new car market in Siem Reap by a large margin contrary to Phnom Penh.

2. Toyota Hilux Siem ReapToyota Hilux in Siem Reap, Cambodia – January 2016

The only new car showroom I could spot around town was a Ford one though, but it went into full renovation mode on the second day of my stay here so there weren’t any salespeople to speak with. Around it could however be spotted a lineup of new Ranger including the Wildtrak top-end spec, as well as one new gen F-150 coming directly from the U.S. and one F-150 Raptor with… Chinese licence plates!

3. Toyota Camry Siem ReapToyota Camry near Angkor Wat temple – January 2016

The Toyota Camry is more than ever dominant in the streets of Siem Reap, not as new but imported as used from the U.S. The 20% of car parc ratio it commended in Phnom Penh should increase even further here and could reach 25 to 30%.

7. Toyota Highlander Siem ReapToyota Highlander in Siem Reap – January 2016

As it was the case in Phnom Penh, the Highlander I is also very popular, as well as the RAV4 II and the Lexus RX I. The Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger display a strong heritage here with the past three generations are present in high numbers.

5. Toyota Prius US Siem ReapToyota Prius with original U.S. license plates in Siem Reap

A proof that a large part of these Toyotas imported in Cambodia come from the U.S. was in plain sight in one of the Siem Reap streets leading to the Angkor Wat area: a couple of Toyota Prius II for sale with their original U.S. license plate as pictured above.

4. Ford Ranger Siem ReapFord Ranger in Siem Reap – January 2016

The Wuling dealership I spotted in Phnom Penh had not generated any models in ‘real life’ in the streets there, but it was different in Siem Reap where I sighted one Rongguang Mini Truck (micro pickup) and one Rongguang van. An interesting push by Wuling to expand in Cambodia.

Thai Nissan Navara and U.S. Nissan Frontier in Siem Reap – January 2016

In the pickup aisle, the Nissan Navara comes third in frequency in Siem Reap after the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger and a fascinating fact is that their population is split between the Frontier coming from the U.S. (the large majority) and the Navara coming from Thailand. It is in Siem Reap, and not Phnom Penh, that I spotted the first and only new gen Thai-built Navara of this trip.

Ford F-150 and Ranger Wildtrak in the Siem Reap Ford dealership – January 2016

 Ford F-150 Raptor with Chinese license plates in the Siem Reap Ford dealership

12. Lexus LX military Siem ReapCambodian Army Lexus LX in Siem Reap 

13. Siem Reap Airport 2Ssangyong Istana and Maxus V80 at Siem Reap airport.

The Ssangyong Istana is the most popular van to transport tourists to the world heritage temple area, even though as soon as you leave Siem Reap, you immediately enter tuk tuk territory.

The Siem Reap Photo Report continues below with 10 additional pictures.

Cadillac Tuk Tuk Siem Reap“Cadillac Tuk Tuk” in Siem Reap – January 2016 

Cambodia 2016 Photo: The cars of Phnom Penh

Toyota Hilux billboard in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016. 

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit the two main cities in Cambodia: the capital Phnom Penh as well as Siem Reap, an opportunity to share a new BSCB Photo Report with you. Let’s start with Phnom Penh, where I was met with a flood of previous generations Toyota Camry: a quick survey of 160 vehicles in the streets showed no less than 20% of the entire traffic in town.

3. Phnom PenhPhnom Penh street scene – January 2016 
The Toyota Camry and Highlander are omnipresent in Phnom Penh.

Toyota Alphard in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016.

Toyota has a stranglehold on the used car market in Cambodia, with the first generation Highlander and 2nd gen RAV4 also extremely popular, but the list doesn’t stop there.

Toyota Tundra in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016

The first generation Lexus RX is also a favourite of grey-market used car importers in the country, as are the Toyota Prius II, Hilux, Alphard, Tacoma and Sienna as well as the Lexus LX. A big surprise was the appearance of a significant amount of current gen Tundra imported from the U.S…

Toyota Dealership Phnom PenhToyota dealership in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016 

Toyota also should top the new sales brands ranking – but not the models ranking as detailed in our previous Cambodia update – with the new generation Hilux (aka Hilux Revo) already relatively frequent in the capital city and monopolising the Phnom Penh Toyota dealership showroom space and sales people attention.

Toyota Avanza and Land Cruiser in Phnom Penh – January 2016

The all-new Avanza is also already starting to make its mark as well as the new gen Land Cruiser, signalling a good reactivity of the market as these two nameplates only launched a few months ago in their respective countries of origin: Indonesia and Japan.

2. Ford Dealership Phnom PenhFord dealership in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016

The Ford Ranger justifies its Cambodia 2015 best-seller title by showing off a dozen new generations in the 24 hours I stayed in Phnom Penh, building on an evident heritage of previous generations of the nameplate. The Phnom Penh Ford dealership housed a sizeable stock of Ranger but also the Everest, Ecosport and current gen F-150 sold as new.

Foton dealership in Phnom Penh

Chinese manufacturers are already implanted en masse in Cambodia but their success has been limited so far, judging by their small amount within the current Phnom Penh car parc. I did spot a handful of FAW V5 taxis, MG3, MG6, Maxus V80, Great Wall Steed pickup and JMC Yusheng as well as the Foton LCV dealership pictured above and a Wuling dealership, but no Foton or Wuling in the streets.

Phnom Penh street scene

Kia is also popular with the Carnival and Bongo, as well as Mazda with its BT-50 pickup (estimated to rank #3 overall in 2015) and Mitsubishi with its Triton pickup – the local dealer had a very sizeable stock of the nameplate available. Other notable sightings in Phnom Penh include the Ram 2500 and Ford F-150 Raptor.

13. Range Rover Phnom Penh2 x Range Rovers in Phnom Penh – January 2016. 

Luxury brands are still a relative rarity in Phnom Penh even though I spotted two Jaguar Land Rover dealerships and one large BMW showroom. Range Rovers are exceptionally popular for their price though with multiple shining new examples spotted across town, including the Evoque.

Peugeot 406 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016

Despite the country’s French heritage, there were hardly any French nameplates to be seen in the capital: in 24 hours, I spotted two Peugeot 406 (including the one pictured above) and one 405.

The next Cambodia stop is Siem Reap, to be published shortly.

The Phnom Penh Photo Report continues below with 10 additional photos.

Cambodia Full Year 2015: Ford Ranger leads, outsells Toyota Hilux

Ford Ranger in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016.

For the first time in five years we are able to report in detail on the Cambodian car market, still dominated by used imports. According to the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF), a total of 55.000 imports entered Cambodia in 2015, a 10% increase over the previous year. Of these, only about 4.000 units are new cars, up 7% year-on-year. Surprisingly, the tax environment is extremely unfavourable to new car imports and favouring used ones instead, making Cambodia the only ASEAN country with Myanmar to continue allowing imports of secondhand cars just as Vietnam and Laos are banning them.

Toyota Hilux in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016

Even more surprisingly, the market distortion is getting more intense in 2016, with taxes on car imports being further increased on April 1. They can now reach up to in excess of 136% on imported new luxury vehicles. Pily Wong, CEO of Hung Hiep, Volkswagen’s distributor in Cambodia, comments to the Phnom Penh Post: “I actually don’t know why the government has taken this measure to make the tax even more favourable to used cars, as if we don’t have enough used cars in the market. Taxes are highest on newer vehicles with higher engine capacities”. Taxes on car imports account for a third of the government’s total tax revenue in 2015, and although the revised specific tax is imposed on both new and used vehicles, the tax increase has a greater impact on licensed dealers of new cars and advantages grey-market used-car dealers.

Mazda BT-50 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – January 2016

Ford reports the made-in-Thailand Ranger is the best-selling pickup truck in Cambodia (as well as Vietnam and Myanmar), playing a role in lifting the nameplate’s sales across the ASEAN region to an all-time record 54,114 units, an 8% increase on 2014. Given the implacable domination of pickup trucks in the new car market, this means the Ford Ranger is the best-selling new vehicle in Cambodia in 2015. Ford’s local distributor RMA Cambodia reported a 30% new sales increase in 2015 and expects a similar surge in 2016.

500 Riel bill featuring a Nissan Juke 

Observation in the streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (Photo to follow shortly) place the Ford Ranger in the lead of the new car sales charts, followed by the Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton, making the podium 100% pickup trucks. New passenger cars are a lot rarer, with the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Kia Carnival the most successful.

Cambodia: Camry potential best-seller

* Click on the title for many more street scenes! *

Based on observation of the streets of Phnom Penh through YouTube videos, the Toyota Camry is in all likeliness the best-selling car in Cambodia, and could have been so for many years given the number of different generations still omnipresent there.

It is possibly followed by the Honda CR-V, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200. The numerous Lexus models visible in the streets of the country are in fact private US imports, as the brand is not officially present in Cambodia.

Picture taken by my dear Mum and Dad during their trip to Cambodia in November 2010.

More pictures below.

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