Car shopping in Kazakhstan

I just spent a few days in Astana (the capital) shopping for a car with one of my colleagues. I have been looking for a car since arriving in Kstan in June. It has been an interesting “ride”.

Taking a car for a test drive is impossible. They will take you for a “test ride”. I went to a Toyota dealership and looked at the Corolla. After confirming the price was within my range and the salesman doing a “great job of selling the benefits of the car”, he told me that they had a FOUR month wait time, minimal…

I have looked at Toyota’s, Kia’s, Chevrolet’s, Ford’s, VW’s, Nissan’s, Skoda’s, Hundai’s along with several Russian made vehicles. Most of them were out of my price range or didn’t have features that are needed (airbags, road clearance).

Well, after more than 3 months of looking, I think I have settled on a car. They told me the color (you basically take what they have or order something that could take months) and the features which were suitable. My colleague and I went to his apartment and wrote an email to the bookkeeper about the the car.

After receiving the needed approvals, we went back to the dealer the next morning… to find that the car sold later in the afternoon after we had been there! Well, they did have another car like it however. (Funny, they didn’t mention this to us the day before!!!)

So, we asked to see it. We walked to their “back lot”, around the guard dog, in order to see the car. I can only tell you it was great! It is a burgundy color with gray interior. I was sold immediately.

We began talking about the purchase. Many details still have to be worked out, most importantly, how to get the money here to pay for it. I was hoping for a bank transfer, however, they were saying that may not be possible as they need to have it paid for in Kazakh national money (tenge). So, hopefully, sometime next week I will be able to report that I have a car.