We assessed a few weeks ago that given our current set up we need a vehicle to transport equipment and people and stuff around. So we decided to buy a pick up truck.
Since I worked for a decade in the automotive industry and also at some point did sell trucks for a living, the whole “let’s buy a truck” thing ended up on my lap.
So I did a little bit of research before settling down for 3 models I liked and that we could afford. Then it took me a while to wrap my head around the car market in Indonesia.
1. Cash is more expensive than credit. The interest rates are so high than the car dealer is happier to sell you a credit than a vehicle. They give you a price, then you say “I wanna pay cash” and then the price goes up. So weird. So I am giving you a small suitcase full of cash and I am not getting a better deal than if I am not paying you for years? WTF.
2. Second hand doesn’t devaluate, or so little, because of point 1. People pay their vehicle so much more in the end because of the credit that they sell it at a higher price to compensate. In Europe, buy a brand new car and a year later it’s worth 30% less. Here; not at all.
3. KM doesn’t mean anything, people speak in years. As in “my truck is from 2015”. That doesn’t tell me whether it’s got 40,000 km or three times that but everyone seems to think that is not a very important piece of information. When really, it kinda is.
We decided that we could not afford new, so I went on the hunt for a second hand pick up truck. And man, was it fun. Not.
First round of car dealers, I realise that actual car dealers (like the Mitsubishi dealer of the area) don’t do second hand. OK then. I go around a few second hand car dealers, and they all go “for that price we have nothing Ibu”.
Lying on the floor to check under a truck. The things I do...
So I changed tactics and started scrolling the websites for ads. Hand picked a dozen of trucks, messaged them all.
Of course I was not surprised when they started answering my texts and calling me “pak” (mister). After the third one I did not even bother correcting them anymore. It was worth it when I started showing up at places for truck inspection after messages back and forth in Indonesian, and went : “I messaged you about the truck” and watch the guy’s face while slowly realising the little white chick in front of him wanted to buy a truck. I’ve seen that face before so many times in previous jobs, at so many car dealers. It just got better and better really. I would ask to see the engine or check the tyres and the suspension and those guys would look like they just had seen Santa (or the indonesian equivalent, whatever that is).
Anyway, after a lot of driving around, I selected my top three contenders. The week after, I took Antoine (Julia’s partner and also our head of construction and most things involving tools, because he is the only one that knows anything about it) for some truck test driving.
In Indonesia, it is not uncommon that I meet people shorter than me, which pretty much never happens in Europe unless I go hang out outside a primary school. By most Western standards, that means people about the height of an 11 year old kid. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that half of these beautiful, carefully selected trucks had a seat that could not be adjusted. I am sitting there in a truck about to get it on the road and look at Antoine and I go: “I am not sure I can reach the clutch”. Laughter ensues, as we picture myself sitting on a phone book and proudly driving the truck. Not super convenient (turns out I didn't like that one anyway, the steering was way too hard for my midget arms).
To cut a long story short, after much driving, toes extensions on my part and negotiation, we ended up picking up this beauty below, that we named Sharon. And the seat in there can be adjusted for small humans like me that want to drive a truck.
Rear view of Sharon, isn't she good looking.
The next challenge is to get Julia to drive Sharon around Penida…
Well no wait, before that I have to go pick up Sharon, take her for an overhaul service, then load her full of stuff and take her for a ferry ride to Penida. This is gonna be fun.