Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted April 01, 2007 18:58
Driving Through The Nature
The 28th Bangkok International Motor Show played host to several unveilings from different car marques from all over the world. Organizing committee chairman Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow expressed his confidence that the show will help boost the Thai economy. The automotive industry is one of the country's largest industries and Thailand is the largest automotive manufacturer in the ASEAN region. This confident statement was made by Dr. Prachin despite the 20-percent decrease in sales for the first two months of the year. Approximately 15,000 orders were placed at last year's show, and this year it is expected to do as well and also improve vehicle sales for the rest of the year. A total of 21 automobile brands and 5 motorcycle brands have been represented in this year's show, presenting their concept cars, latest offerings, and world debuts for some companies.
This year's theme Driving Through The Nature once again puts emphasis on the importance of natural energy and the quest for finding the perfect alternative fuel to replace oil. "It is very important and Thailand is very lucky for having a leader that is intelligent and has vision. Our King is concerned about the energy crisis, which is one of the country's main problems, and we must all respond to his advice," said Jaturont Komolmit, vice chairman of the organizing committee.
It was also stated by Dr Prachin that Toyota and Honda have expressed their commitment in bringing eco-cars to Thailand with the possibility of making them as well to address the issue. Furthermore, more economical cars will be brought in by other manufacturers as well to help alleviate the problem. Toyota displayed its Prius hybrid production car, and showcased the Hybrid X concept in this regard. In the motorcycle section, China-based T-United displayed its hybrid motorcycle and has planned to build a manufacturing plant in Thailand.
Audi made several new introductions including their award winning Audi TT 2.0 TFSI. BMW Group introduced several models including the recently heralded 3 series convertible, new X3, X5, and the new MINI. Chevrolet debuted its new Captiva compact SUV. Land Rover debuted their new V8 Supercharged Range Rover Sport Mercedes. Benz staged the world premiere for the right-hand drive version of the CL500 alongside the introduction of the long-wheelbase S300. The Natural Gas Technology (NGT) E200 K was also on display. Peugeot highlighted their display with the 207 Sport. Volvo launched the new C30 sports hatchback, which will be sold with the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in the Thai market.
Honda highlighted its display with a special motorsport display featuring its first Formula racecar alongside its modern Formula One racecar. And it also officially announced the new Jazz One-Make Race Series. Mazda highlighted its display with the MX5 RHT, which features an electronic hard top that opens in 12 seconds and the CX7 crossover, which was recently launched in the US. Mitsubishi displayed their Paris Dakar race truck, and a Concept D-5 van (the next-generation Delica). Nissan highlighted its display with the Navara pick-up truck in hopes to recover lost market share in the segment. The minor model change 350Z, which features an improved VQ35HR engine, was also on display at the Nissan pavilion. Toyota launched its new Vios subcompact sedan.
In promoting the AMG Ultimate Experience Asia, which recently concluded its Thailand legs, AMG staged a special display featuring a very limited Mercedes Benz CLK-GTR (no. 13 of 25 to be exact) and a track prepped SLK55 roadster which is the car used in the series. Both cars were stunningly beautiful machines.
Of course every Bangkok Motorshow isn't complete without the girls. With the world's only Miss Motorshow pageant and the manufacturer pavilions that were embellished with the pretty faces and lovely smiles. There was one company that caught the most attention with their interestingly clad models; this was Test Car, a pre-owned vehicle testing facility.
The Bangkok Motorshow still reigns as Southeast Asia's Best Motor Show, with support from the world's major automotive manufacturers. In fact, Dr. Prachin revealed that all the manufacturers have already booked for next year's show which is scheduled for March 28 to April 6.