Toshiyuki Shiga (left), chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co of Japan, and Nissan Motor Thailand president Toru Hasegawa show off the new Almera sedan yesterday in Bangkok.
Nissan believes it will be able to sell more Almera eco-car sedans if the government will extend the same tax rebates offered for 1500cc subcompacts under its first-car incentive programme.
Nissan Motor Thailand (NMT) pioneered eco-cars locally with the March hatchback, which has proved highly popular with local drivers. The company has sold 50,000 units of the March since its launch early last year.
NMT president Toru Hasegawa said eco-cars are unfairly treated because the first-car scheme offers a lower excise tax rate. A first-time car buyer of a 1500cc subcompact could obtain an excise tax rebate of up to 100,000 baht, based on a tax rate of 25%. The rebate for eco-cars is no more than 80,000 baht based on a tax rate of 17%.
The government originally applied a lower excise tax rate to eco-cars to encourage the production of small, fuel-efficient vehicles in Thailand.
"The scheme satisfies consumers but distorts market competition. Nissan is cooperating but we disagree with the practice," said Mr Hasegawa.
Nissan pointed out eco-car projects required an enormous investment and the cars were more environmentally friendly than their 1500cc competitors.He predicted the Almera, which is eligible for the tax rebate, would sell over 40,000 units in its first year, but the figure would be much higher if the rebate was 100,000 baht.
Under the current scheme, the Almera's tax rebate is between 60,000 and 84,000 baht depending on the model.
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