By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae
Last week, we brought you the story of Simon Lukas – a Lae businessman who is owed about K60,000 by the Lae City Council.
Mr. Lukas runs a small automotive parts shop in Lae City. While doing the story, we also found that he also rebuilds Toyota Landcruisers for a living. This is slowly becoming an income stream for him with no shortage of customers willing to pay up to K80,000 for a rebuilt vehicle.
Simon Lukas stumbled upon this revenue earner some years ago after starting up his spare parts business in 2009. Battling the impacts of a difficult economy and unpaid invoices by the Lae City Council, Mr. Lukas has focused on rebuilding the landcruiser – that rugged, much loved workhorse.
“There is a huge market for landcruisers. We have no difficulty selling vehicles which we have rebuilt,” says Lukas.
In recent years, Simon Lukas has had to contend with new challenges. Predominantly Chinese-owned spare parts operators selling cheaper versions of landcruiser parts have made selling Australian sourced parts difficult. This left him with an oversupply of landcruiser parts. So he came up with the idea of using the parts to rebuild cruisers that could not be repaired anymore.
“We thought, why not take our parts and rebuild vehicles?”
In the shed, stands a blue Landcruiser utility. The parts of the blue single cab came from two different vehicles that were involved in separate accidents. His team, brought in a new engine and gearbox from Australia and rebuilt it. This is now going to be sold to a buyer for K70,000. Lukas says, there is an ever present demand for landcruisers. Each rebuilt landcruiser has been presold before completion.