Romance for pick-up trucks fades with diesel subsidy removal

GEORGE TOWN: It used to be an adventurer’s dream to power through highways in a two-tonne diesel pickup truck and then veer off-road in search of outdoor escapades.

Not anymore. Interviews with used car dealers show that more recreational 4x4 vehicle owners want to sell their cars – however, there are just no buyers.

The price of diesel puts that adventurer’s dream too far out for many “lifestyle users” of 4x4 vehicles, especially pickup trucks.

The situation is showing in the value and demand for used pickup trucks, especially those under 10 years old, because the RM200 monthly cash aid under Budi Madani is not likely to be approved for such diesel vehicles.

Used car dealers are reporting that more people want to sell their diesel vehicles, but almost nobody wants to buy them, said Federation of Motor and Credit Companies Associations of Malaysia president Datuk Tony Khor Chong Boon.

“Our member-dealers are in a dilemma about whether or not to accept such diesel vehicles.

“We are not even sure how much to price them anymore,” he said.

However, used car dealer Eric Beh, in Nibong Tebal, prefers to stand firm on his valuation.

His market in South Seberang Prai district comprises many buyers who need pickup trucks for farm work.

“I see a 20% increase in the number of owners wanting to sell off their pickup trucks, especially among those who bought them for recreational purposes.

“I drop the value by RM1,000 to RM2,000 only, because I know the market for such used trucks will stay strong,” he said.


Another used car dealer, Lee Leong Heng in Butterworth, said he had dropped the valuation of used pickup trucks by at least 10% and even more for sporty pickup trucks that are under 10 years old.

“Many owners are holding back because the value of their trucks is not attractive now.

“No customer has walked in to look for such vehicles,” he said.

Lee clarified that the higher price of diesel had little effect on buyers who need pickup trucks for work.

“About 80% of diesel vehicle owners use them for work because pickup trucks are still the best for rough, hilly terrain, even while carrying heavy loads.

“But for those who need pickup trucks for recreation, it is a big blow.

“Pickup truck owners whose vehicles are under 10 years old may not get the RM200 cash aid under Budi Madani to subsidise their fuel purchases,” he added.

That was what happened to Chandra Purshoathaman, 45, who owns a “sports edition” seven-year-old pickup truck.

“My application for Budi Madani was rejected almost immediately,” he said.

He had bought the truck because he liked fishing and needed to carry a lot of gear.


“I am now looking for a cheap, used car for daily commuting. I don’t want to sell my truck because then I will have trouble carrying my gear on fishing trips,” he said.

Ahmad Zhafaran Nasib, 40, is lucky enough to get the Budi Madani cash aid.

“I use my truck for work... and yes, the new diesel price hurts,” he said, adding that he uses his vehicle for off-roading too as his hobby is kayak-fishing.

Ahmad Zhafaran, who works as a photographer, is now extra careful about acceleration.

“When you drive fast, you have to brake more often because of slower vehicles ahead. When you re-accelerate, you waste diesel and I cannot afford to waste that anymore,” he said.

He was disappointed that the government did not reduce the road tax for pickup trucks.

“It is RM835 for the yearly road tax of a 2,500cc pickup truck. Diesel used to be so much cheaper than petrol because it is easier to distil it.

“Why hasn’t the government reduced the road tax for diesel vehicles?” Ahmad Zhafaran said.

Alan Lam, 52, who drives a manual pickup truck, also said he had become more careful in his driving behaviour.

“I don’t let my truck go into overdrive anymore. I switch gears quickly because in overdrive, we burn more diesel,” he said.

Lam’s truck is 16 years old, and he received the monthly RM200 Budi Madani cash aid.

“At my age, I don’t want another car loan, so I am taking good care of my old truck.

“Pickup trucks are known for being tough and lasting for a long time. I still love camping and boating, so I need my truck,” he added.

Individuals can register at the government’s website,, to apply for cash aid if they own diesel vehicles for personal use.
Autos News
Autos diesel