Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted April 07, 2009 18:58
The show must go on
Through good times and bad times, Grand Prix International has indeed weathered through. This year, most especially would not be a year to back down for the 30th Bangkok International Motor Show for Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow, despite the global economic crisis. The only OICA (Organization Internationale Des Constructeurs D'Automobiles) recognized ASEAN autoshow to be included in the world auto show calendar still went on to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Organizers expect an attendance of 1.6 to 1.7 million visitors for this year's show. GPI also set-up an impressive display of cars in the second floor to commemorate its 30th anniversary and show some its highlights in the past 29 years.
This year's theme, "Green Life On Wheels" revolves around the environment and alternative energy. Manufacturers displayed technologies from CNG (compressed natural gas), electric, fuel cell and hybrid as their part in making a sustainable environment for growth. The show was highlighted by concept cars namely, the BMW M1 Homage, Mazda Sassou, Toyota 1/X, and the Toyota A-bat. Master Car Rental displayed the most expensive rental car in Bangkok, an Aston Martin DBS, which goes for a whopping 455,000 Baht per month.
Audi released the new Q5, BMW launched the 1-Series Coupe, new generation 7-Series and Z4; Chery displayed its Faira subcompact convertible; Honda launched its new Freed compact MPV and displayed its Insight hybrid car; Lexus launched the new IS250 convertible and displayed the new RX450h; Mazda launched the updated MX-5; Mercedes Benz launched its new E-Class Coupe; otherwise known as the ELK and the S500; Mini launched the new Cooper Convertible; Mitsubishi unveiled the 4x2 variant of its Pajero Sport SUV based on the Triton pickup; Nissan launched the new Teana and 370Z roadster; Proton of Malaysia, highlighted its display with the Neo CPS compact hatchback; Tata made its entry to the Thai market with the Xenon pickup and also displayed a CNG capable concept; and Vollkswagen displayed its new Scirocco and Passat CC.
Some strange offerings from the Yontrakit Group also included the Malaysian subcompact Naza Forza and Polarsun Century (a copy of the previous generation Toyota Hiace) of Chinese origin. It also displayed the two most hideous cars in the form of the Mitsuoka Galue, a car somewhat trying to be a Rolls Royce Phantom that came out of a bad science experiment. On a different note, Isuzu displayed a Platinum Edition of its D-Max pickup which came in a special metallic finish.
Motorcycle manufacturers Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha displayed their latest products, while aftermarket companies filled the Accessories Hall with their newest offerings. The Bangkok Motor Show will never be complete of course without the pretty smiling faces of the beautiful ladies as the country is better known as the Land of Smiles. Side events of the show still included the Bangkok Auto Salon at the basement, Car Audio Competition at the main parking area, and car clubs meets from different prestigious brand clubs in Thailand.
Overall, organizers and participants still managed to put on a good show despite the global economic crisis. "Although Thailand is affected by the global economic crisis, which we cannot avoid, the show must go on," said Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow, Chairman of the Bangkok Motor Show. Organizers expressed optimism for the coming year and are confident that the 31st edition of the show will bring even more people to the show as the venue will be connected directly by the BTS Skytrain with a new station stopping near the BITEC center.