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"RIGHT DRIVE" FROM PRIMORIJE: FORECAST COMFORTABLE

It is possible that at the beginning of the next millennium Vladivostok could again become the Russian “automobile Mecca”.

Igor MORGARETTO

Residents of Vladivostok have not been walking in the forests closest to the city for a long time, because all their edges are literally clogged … with old cars. What is it - along the roadsides of many city (!) Roads, rusted car bodies are piled up on two or three floors.

In fact, where to put them? There is no recycling system for cars in Primorye, as in Russia in general, and there are much more passenger cars themselves here than in any other region of the country. For 800 thousand inhabitants of the regional center, for example, 430 thousand cars were registered (for 8 million Muscovites - only 1.9 million). More than 70% of cars with “twenty-fifth” numbers of the Primorsky Territory are naturally right-hand drive “Japanese women” (for comparison, in Moscow, foreign cars make up only 19% of the fleet). The elderly “Volga”, “Lada” and “Muscovites” look like aliens from another world on the streets of Nakhodka and Vladivostok. Recently, one of the leaders of the regional traffic police, taking several new “Samars” as a gift from the regional administration, tried to get behind the wheel through … the right door. None of those present were surprised or laughed.

SECOND CHANCE

In the Land of the Rising Sun, the tax system and legislation push a citizen to drive only in a new car. She turned five years old - sell! The older the car, the higher the tax, the more expensive maintenance and inspection. Thus, the state stimulates the automotive industry and takes care of the ecology of the most populous country in the world. And from Vladivostok to Japan - only a day by sea. You will agree that the ports of Toyama and Maizuru are much closer than Togliatti or Nizhny Novgorod - you need to travel by train for a week …

In 1990, 15.5 thousand "Japanese women" were registered in Vladik (the city is so lovingly called by its inhabitants), and in 1994 already 132 thousand were registered. In the next 1995, new customs duties were introduced during two years into the city was imported "only" 120 with a few thousand right-hand drive cars. In 1997, a record year, nearly 160 thousand were delivered, and then a crisis occurred, and in the sad 1998, only 80 thousand cars passed through local ports.

These figures could be noticeably larger, because the right-hand drive “Japanese women”, besides the Far Easterners, were liked by the Siberians, and later by the inhabitants of the Urals and Central Russia. Not only the crisis and draconian customs payments have become in the way of a cheap second-hand from Japan, but also the short-sightedness of coastal officials, businessmen and … bandits, who seem to have acted on the same pattern.

When two years ago the correspondent of ZR went to Vladivostok for the Nissan Terrano all-terrain vehicle (ZR, 1997, No. 12, “In the Primorye for the Japanese”), the “wraparound” for a car bought in Japan, in Vladivostok car dealerships and in the markets was one hundred and more. To send a car to the mainland by rail, it was necessary to wait weeks for an opportunity, and it cost $ 1.5–2 thousand. Those who dared to drive the car under their own power were waiting for testing, compared to by which the adventures of Indiana Jones is just a game of “naval combat.” Not only that, about from Birobidzhan to Chita in the summer there is no road at all (you can drive only in winter, along frozen riverbeds), it so happened that the “guys” with shaved naps attacked the passing cars, you could only get to these places by huddling in a column. God forbid, to be left behind … In a word, a resident of Central Russia or Siberia, who decided to go to Primorye for a foreign car, was escorted to the front, along with periodic government promises to prohibit the operation of right-hand drive cars in Russia, all this became a reliable barrier to P Japanese five "second-hand" in the country.

Then a crisis broke out, which bankrupted Russian banks and millions of our fellow citizens, and practically brought down the market for used foreign cars. In the first 6 months after this, demand fell almost to zero. But a year later, strangely enough, it was the crisis that gave Vladivostok a second chance to become our “automobile Mecca”, and it’s a sin not to use it.

CITY MARKET

Today, if you decide to buy a used right-hand drive car, you can easily go to Japan. A single-entry visa plus a place in the cabin for you and on the deck - for your car, it’s a pleasure to run around the car market in Toyama or Mizuru for two days at a cost of $ 700-800 (depending on the urgency of applying for a visa), and the whole trip will take about a week (here role weather at sea). On the one hand, of course, it’s a plus that you can choose a car yourself, but on the other, there are solid minuses.

In recent years, people from Pakistan have almost supplanted Japanese traders on the second-hand car market. Unlike the painfully honest Aborigines, they try to cheat in any situation, in many cases pretending that in English there is no boom-boom. In Japanese - please, in Urdu - with pleasure. And who knows how in Urdu there will be a “real car mileage”? Or is it the same in Japanese? That's it. In addition, life on the islands is so expensive, and the most modest lunch costs 20 "green". So it is better to entrust the purchase of a car to a sailor - a professional car dealer. He knows the sellers, can order the necessary models in advance, and knows how to bargain, and usually buys several car seats on the ship at once - it's cheaper. The owner of a "sailor's passport" does not need a visa to Japan either.

In Vladivostok, today there are a lot of car dealers, companies and private owners who are even willing to drive a car “on order” even without prepayment. The waiting period is 7-14 days. But in any case, a single sailor will go behind the car: large companies that in the past years tried to import used cars in bulk have closed - they crushed exorbitant taxes. For the time being, expensive cars are still imported “for exemptions” (all local newspapers are full of ads like “buy an exemption” or vice versa - “sell an exemption”), medium and small class - according to the new rules (0.85 euros per 1 smz).

To visit the capital of the Primorsky Territory and not visit the famous Green Corner market means not to see anything. And although used cars are traded in literally every corner of the city, Green still impresses with the quantity and quality of the cars offered. It is located on several hills on the outskirts of the city, but the cars for sale also occupy all adjacent roads. There are many thousands of them, white, red, black, blue, for every taste and size. A middle-class car of the early 90s can be bought for a thousand or two "green" ones, some kind of Toyota Corona 1994-1995. (analogue of the well-known in Europe “Karina E”) will cost 4–5 thousand, and the “sophisticated” “Crown” of 1995 will be given for 8 thousand. But, if you bargain, the price can be greatly reduced.

Today at the "Green Corner" and offer a lot of Korean cars. But, despite low prices and a normal left-hand drive, demand for them is small.

There are several commissioned auto shops on the market, and checking a car for theft, making a purchase is a matter of several minutes. If necessary, the car will be delivered to the railway station and sent to any corner of Russia.

As for the crime … Sellers in the market and in the shops assure that in recent years there have been much fewer “raids” on buyers. Of course, shops pay a share of their profits to certain “roofs, ” but they have guaranteed protection.

This was confirmed in an interview by one of the heads of the regional traffic police department, Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Meleschenko: “The wild bazaar is gradually turning into a civilized market. The cars, of course, are stolen, but mostly for spare parts: they simply cannot be taken out of the region. Last year, they tried to smuggle a consignment of 300 stolen cars from Japan, some of them went to Siberia, but since then we have tightened control … "

Confirmation of the words of the lieutenant colonel about streamlining the market can be at least the fact that the "Green Corner" even has its own website on the Internet, and sitting somewhere in Tambov, you can find out the seaside prices for cars, consult about services, find out the phones of dealers, etc. d.

TO THE WEST!

Today, several companies are engaged in the delivery of a car purchased in Primorye. Their advertising is in the most prominent places, on the pages of all local newspapers, and together with the entrance ticket to the Green Corner for 1 ruble, you are given leaflets with their addresses, phone numbers and cost of services.

Transportation of a middle class car to Moscow in the “grid” (a special covered bunk carriage, covered with a grid on each side) with security and insurance last August fell four times (!) And cost 9, 800 rubles, in a completely closed carriage - 12– 14 thousand rubles., Container - about 20 thousand.

We calculate: the flight from Moscow to Vladivostok and back - 11–11.5 thousand rubles, hotel accommodation - 200–300 rubles. per day. Given that the machines themselves are much cheaper than European counterparts (moreover, they are sometimes equipped better than the latter), the purchase will be very profitable. Only one tip: if you live much west of Primorye, it is better to take a car that has an analogue with the “normal”, left-hand drive. Let's say Toyota Kaldina is the right-hand drive version of the Karina E wagon, Toyota Windom is the 300th Lexus, etc. But Toyota Mark 2 or Nissan Skyline with all its attractiveness left-hand drive "have no analogues, and there may be problems with spare parts in the future (do not go to the Far East for them!). In addition, in the same capital, several companies already specialize in “transferring” the right rudder to the left, but, of course, they only take on those cars that have twin brothers in Europe.

The heads of the regional customs department forecast a large increase in the import of used foreign cars of the middle class (with the abolition of customs privileges, driving expensive cars will become unprofitable). And if the coastal authorities and businessmen do not “step on the rake” for the second time, in 2000 Vladivostok could again become the Russian “automobile Mecca”. Alas, we have plenty of stupidity and greed. Here the port authorities in Vladivostok had already decided to earn “quick money” and so raised the port charges that most ships are now unloaded in Nakhodka, Vanino and Slavyanka. If railwaymen, dealers and others decide to “raise prices” for port workers, “Mecca” may very well not happen.

On the near approaches to the Green Corner. What to choose?