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Rani and I have no house nor car. It's not that we don't need a place to live, but renting a small apartment in Singapore is much more feasible for us. And ever since we moved to Singapore in 2002, the idea of owning private car is no longer important (although, a sailing catamaran remains on our wishlist!).
However, in preparation for our next move to Jakarta, we now have to start thinking about owning or renting/leasing a car. Or borrow one from a kind person who has one car too many? :)
What sort of criteria do I need to set for it? *Not in order of preference.
1. Reliability. It has to be operational 99.99% of the time, especially when my job requires me to visit Tanjung Priok regularly. You definitely don't want to be left stranded anywhere near that place.
2. Spare parts and mechanics availability. I remember when my father bought a pre-owned Daewoo for driving around town. It was hard to find suitable spare parts or mechanics for that model.
3. Price. I think buying a new car is equivalent to throwing money in the sea, especially with first year depreciation cost. I'd definitely go for a pre-owned model, which is about 2-3 years old. *Even billionaires Warren Buffet and Ingvar Kamprad both drive old inexpensive cars.
4. High clearance. To deal with "fate" (as Sutiyoso has kindly put it in words regarding "Jakarta flooding"), we have to be able to pass through standing water with a maximum depth of 30 cm.
5. Convertability to cleaner fuel. I am so keen on using biodiesel, especially after reading about how easy it is to adopt biodiesel for your diesel car. And if we're really left stranded in Tanjung Priok (knock on wood!), the very least we can do is hustle and bustle to gather used cooking oil from nearby street vendors. Such a greasy thing can be used, too. Besides, it should also have relatively cleaner emission, which can be achieved using common rail technology.
6. Seating capacity. With our growing family (and friends), we definitely need a 7 or 8 seater. Not to mention the need to carry Rani's accordion, my golf clubs and Noe's collection of toys (and a deflated rubber dinghy on the roof, of course!)
PS: Here is how San Fransisco citizens take advantage of biodiesel. Together, we can do the same in Jakarta. Talk to me if you get the idea.