Oh, you think cars in Malaysia are expensive?
Wait till you live in Nepal and you have no choice but to pay six-figures for an entry level car.
Our national carmaker Proton has just launched the entry-level Proton Saga in Nepal.
While that may not be that big of news -- after all, Proton export their vehicles to more than a dozen countries all around the world -- the most shocking thing about this is the price that the Proton Saga is sold over there.
The same car that's being marketed to university graduates who are looking for their first car or execs who want to buy the Honda Civic but their bank accounts say no are being sold from RM122,000
Yep, that's right; it's not a typo.
According to TechLekh
, the Proton Saga is available in two variants in Nepal: the base model, a 1.3 Standard MT, is selling for 3,550,000 rupees (RM122,700)
and the 1.3 Premium AT model goes for 3,950,000 rupees (RM136,600)
As comparison, the 1.3 Standard MT Proton Saga goes for RM32,800 and the 1.3 Premium AT is priced at RM39,800 in Malaysia.
Why is it so expensive?
You must be thinking: for the amount they're paying for a Proton Saga over there in Nepal, they must have packed it with tonnes of bleeding-edge features, right?
Well, bleeding bank account, yes, but features? Not really.
The Nepal version gets almost exactly the same specs, performance and looks as the Malaysian version.
There are only two differences in the Nepal version: one, they get an upgraded air-conditioning system with airflow direction controls and also a heater.
Two, their engine capacity is slightly smaller than the Malaysian version: the get a 1,299 cc version of the 1.3 litre VVT four-cylinder engine, while we get a is 1,332 cc.
So, why are they paying so much for a car that's basically almost the same as their Malaysian cousins?
Well, the same reason why car prices are so much higher in Malaysia and Singapore: car import taxes.
According to this website
, the Nepal government applies up to 250 per cent
of custom taxes on all cars imported into the country.
Car import taxes is one of the major sources of revenue for the Nepali government, so Nepal citizens would most probably have to deal with high prices if they want to buy an imported car.
If you're currently driving a Proton Saga, you can tell your friends that in Nepal, it is actually a semi-luxury vehicle.