“Let Them Rust” campaign

17 May, '09

I received an interesting email from a friend this morning, with pictures, which I thought is worthy of translation and sharing.

There is an active campaign in Bahrain at the moment by consumers to force greedy car dealerships to reduce their prices. It’s apparently fashioned after a Saudi campaign which some say already bore fruit.

The essence of this campaign is to not buy cars, let the stock rust if need be, until dealers take active steps to make car prices in Bahrain comparable to world markets. The email cites some staggering prices that if true, demonstrate the abject greed which should only be rewarded by completely shunning the owning company’s (if not family’s) businesses.

Here’s the translation – I vouch not for these figures, if anyone has any corroboration, please comment:

Let them Rust

There are approximately 9,500 cars in Mina Sulman with no buyers in sight. An agreement has been struck between the importers to move their stock to their warehouses outside of Mina Sulman due to its closure [and taking over by the US Navy’s 5th Fleet apparently.]

Friday 15th May 2009: see pictures below of shots taken at the port 3 months ago.

  • Al-Moayyed’s car companies didn’t sell more than 60 cars since the start of 2009 and anyone can go to witness their stock in Saar without a buyer in sight.
  • Kanoo transported more than 3,000 cars to their warehouses in Sitra.
  • The pictures below show the cars in Mina Sulman due to the global economic downturn and no one wants them. I implore everyone in Bahrain to start the “Let Them Rust” campaign as in Saudi until the dealers reduce car prices to parity with the rest of the world.

    We came to know that dealers actually raised prices by 5% rather than reduce them. Let them fester in their warehouses, full in the knowledge that the car costs are quite cheap.

    Here are examples of actual costs:

  • Toyota Corolla: Cost BD2,800 including customs and shipping, resale price BD6,500
  • Camry with costs: Cost BD4,000 but resale price is over BD9,000
  • Land Cruiser costs BD7,500 with full options is sold for over BD16,000
  • Mustang costs BD4,000 but sold for BD11,000
  • Lancer costs less than BD2,000 but sold for over BD5,500
  • Honda Accord costs approximately BD4,200 but is sold for BD9,000
  • Lexus ES300 with full options costs BD5,500 but is sold for BD15,000, even though they are sold as 2009 models while they actually are 2008. Be careful, they might even be sold as 2010 models!
  • Please don’t buy any cars [in Bahrain] unless traders reduce their prices appropriately. Citizens! You live on perpetual loans, be careful!

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    Comments (15)

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    1. Johnster says:

      Absolutely spot on. This is the problem when almost every car dealer has a monopoly (there are excepotions eg Jeep).

      Perhaps most obnoxious of all is Porsche. The high handed arrogance of the (British) sales woman defied description.

      I will not go into the whole story here but basically here was a guy with the readies burning a hole in his pocket and was treated like shit.

      The Cayman is a beautiful car but (after 6 months of wanting to buy one) as I said to the woman “If your attitude is like this when I want to give you BD18k, I hate toi think what it would be like if something goes wrong or I just need a service.. Therefore you are not getting my business”

    2. Cars in Bahrain are generally overpriced, everything in Bahrain is generally overpriced, they usually convert $ to BD.
      But i don’t think you can ever buy a Camry for 4000 or an ES300 for 5500.
      The ES350 costs $35,000… click the following link for more: http://autos.msn.com/research/autopricer/default.aspx

      The problem with Bahraini forums and most messages that I receive in Arabic is that is full of BS, for the love of god, USE GOOGLE!

      Toyota and the big boys are shipping the fuel guzzlers to this part of the world, there’s no market for large SUVs and trucks in the states now. Toyota Sequoia, Ford Edge, Nissan Titan.

    3. Mike says:

      I blame the ridiculous agency laws in Bahrain.

      Your better off importing. Works out cheaper.

    4. steve the american says:

      The car lots are full here in America, too. I drove by the harbor at Philadelphia a couple months ago and there were acres of new cars parked next to the water, offloaded with nowhere to go. I read it’s the same in LA.

    5. scary. Just out of curiosity, what are the costs based on?

    6. Blewyn says:

      The story you relate is no surprise to me (a Brit). Back home a lot of perceived-value products are sold in a haughty, aloof manner that suggests the seller is actually only tolerating their interaction with you, that you are in fact only equal in rank to them if you part with your cash. It’s a leftover from the days of rigid social classes, and a deliberate ploy to make those who can afford a Porsche Cayenne (but only just, and maybe should do something more cautious with their money) feel part of an exclusive club, that they are somehow stepping up a class. The British middle class just laps that shit up.

    7. Mike says:

      Myfanwy, at least their is healthy competition in the UK with car sales. You don’t have sole-agencies for each manufacturer like in Bahrain.

      The Toyota dealerships for example are not owned by the same company, they’re all independent and therefor they compete against each other and offer different deals and financing options.

      Scrappage scheme comes into play today! Woohoo!

    8. Bernie says:

      It’s pretty much the same over here in England. The car business has just nosedived completely.
      The companies are slowly dropping their prices but it’s having little effect.
      I think folks are just hanging on to perfectly good older cars.

      p.s. It’s good to see you back Mahmood, your wit and humour have been sorely missed.

    9. mahmood says:

      Many thanks.

    10. Anonymous Coward says:

      I am disappointed in you Mahmood. You could have simply looked up the prices online to see that this campaign is not entirely honest with itself. It is okay for consumers to hit back at retailers to bring prices to a more reasonably perceived level. However, spreading rumors and numbers that are completely false is shameful at best.

      The cost of a car is based on what? Is that how much it costs to manufacture it? Where did this information come from? Does the agent have a say in how much a car should retail for? There are many questions to be answered before people start making wild statements about things they know little to nothing about.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheaper cars and I am in no way shape or form associated with anything in the auto-industry (or retail for that matter). I just think that you have been far more responsible in your blog in the past and this is beneath your standard, Mahmood.

      No hard feelings, just calling a spade a spade.

    11. bahraini4eva says:

      Anonymous Coward said, “I’m all for cheaper cars and I am in no way shape or form associated with anything in the auto-industry (or retail for that matter).” Well, I very much doubt that is true being that you are not associated with the auto-industry. It’s a fact that cars retail prices in Bahrain are extremely inflated because of the main problem of every agent having sole exclusive distrbutorship rights for each car company, which prevents fair competition!

      Also, you said, “You could have simply looked up the prices online to see that this campaign is not entirely honest with itself.” Unlike your vague comment, let me give you two (and there are plenty more) examples to support my argument:

      Bahrain price of the Jaguar XF 2009: 24,000 Dinars
      Import price (including import tax + shipping + insruance) is: BD 15,188
      A saving of 8,812 Dinars at today’s exchange rate.

      THE PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 530i (IN BAHRAIN) AND A 530i (IN UK) IS BD7,100 — THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE BAHRAIN IMPORT TAX OF 5% ON ANY CAR’S PURCHASE VALUE!

    12. Anonymous Coward says:

      bahraini4eva,

      I can understand your skepticism. I only know that comparing prices between cars is not as simple as you put it.

      Give you an example:

      A BMW 530i in Dubai costs about 40-50k dhs less than in Abu Dhabi. This does not mean that Abu Dhabi cars are cheaper. The options are not the same. For example, the Abu Dhabi version (at the time I was shopping, a couple years back) seat heating. Can you believe that? That’s a ridiculous option to have on a car in this part of the world. You would think that the Dubai dealers would know better.. but then a lot of the 2004 models (not sure if this has changed, I hope it did) didn’t have CRUISE CONTROL!

      Now, can you imagine a BMW 5 series, leather seat, sunroof, 18″ alloy wheels.. and no cruise control!? That’s crazy.. but that’s how they bring the price down.

      What I am saying is: you need to look into a lot of details to make such a statement. For example, you are saying that an XF 2009 costs BD 15,188.. says who? Do you have proof of that? I am not saying that this is not true. I am saying: in order to make a strong point, you need to have hard evidence. Just spitting out figures doesn’t mean anything.

      And, seriously.. if anyone is greedy, it’s dealers in the UAE. I just don’t see how Bahrain can outdo Emirati dealerships in greed. Hell, that would be a first.

    13. bahrain4eva says:

      Anonymous Coward, there is no argument to be made unless you compare LIKE FOR LIKE.

      When I compared the price difference between the Jags in Bahrain vs UK, they were LIKE FOR LIKE…. and lets just assume they were not.. let’s say there was seat heating..and slightly colour fabrics.. would it be worth the 8,500 BD difference in price?

    14. smokedgoldeye says:

      I believe in freedom. The car dealer is free to charge as high a price as he wishes. The car customer is free to buy or not buy from him. I also believe that greed and selfishness are good. Why? The way to obtain more money, without using force, is to please your customer or your employer. A greedy selfish car dealer who wants more of your money will attempt to “please” it out of you. How? By offering, in your opinion, a better product, at a lower price with better service than his competitor — including you importing the car yourself. “But he doesn’t have enough competitors!”, you protest. Is that his fault? When a small group of volunteers shows up to help with a big project, do you berate them because not enough other volunteers showed up? No, of course not. In conclusion, I recommend that you applaud greedy businessmen….and volunteer yourself to become one as you see their profits rise. Freedom. Peaceful voluntary trading between humans. Heaven!

    15. bahraini4eva says:

      Um. How come all 14 comments are not showing here? Where are my posted comments? Just Disappeared.

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