Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted March 31, 2013 23:21
Two major world debuts highlight 34th edition of ASEAN's premier motor show
The 34th Bangkok International Motor Show comes at the heels of Thailand’s most successful automotive year, posting an 80.9% surge in 2012. The show’s organizers decided to take a break from focusing on green technologies at the show to the aesthetic aspect of cars with their theme ‘Street of Automotive Fashion’ this year. The show has successfully helped introduce hybrid cars and other alternative fuel vehicles to Thailand and the ASEAN region.
Highlighting the show this year are the global debuts of the Toyota Vios and the Mitsubishi Concept G4.
The reveal of the fourth-generation Toyota Vios (1st gen: Tercel/Soluna - 1994-2000, 2nd gen: Vios/Soluna Vios - 2002-2007, 3rd gen: Belta/Yaris Sedan/Vios 2007-Present) is highly significant for the region, as it is one of the highest selling models in the Toyota lineup.
The car will be produced at Toyota’s plant in Thailand and will be exported to over 80 countries. Philippine market versions will be assembled in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
On display was a TRD-kitted racing version of the new Vios for the Toyota one-make series and a race-prepped Toyota 86 for the Supercar Thailand series. Toyota also displayed the FCV-R and Fun Vii concepts to express the brand’s commitment to environment friendly vehicles.
Mitsubishi also held the global debut of its Concept G4 sedan as part of its global small car program. The G4 sedan is based on the Mirage 5-door hatchback debuted at the show last year. It will be produced in Thailand and exported to several world markets when finalized. Unveiled alongside the Concept G4 is the Concept GR-HEV, which previews the future Strada/Triton pickup, a model due for replacement.
While Ford has no global debuts, they did have their President and CEO Alan Mulally present to personally launch the revised Fiesta to the ASEAN market as well as the new Ecosport crossover based on the Fiesta. The Fiesta was announced to have a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine powered variant in the near future.
Updated and upgraded reveals
For the European front, Mercedes-Benz held the ASEAN unveil of the updated E-Class and also displayed the Concept Style Coupe, which has resulted in the recently debuted CLA. BMW displayed their ActiveHybrid lineup in the form of the 3, 5, 7 Series and Z4 roadster, and also showed their recently debuted X1 compact crossover. MINI unveiled the new Paceman sports activity coupe. Rolls-Royce revealed the Ghost Art Deco Edition which was flanked by other Ghost variants and the Phantom. Lamborghini displayed the Gallardo Final Edition in standard and Superleggera form and a matte black Aventador LP700, which was sold right on the show floor during VIP day. Porsche debuted the new Cayman at the show as well. The all new Range Rover was displayed at the Land Rover stand while Volvo took off the covers of the new V40 compact hatchback.
Nissan displayed their recently debuted Pulsar 5-door hatchback, based on the Ellure Concept it displayed, which also spawned the Sylphy (Sentra) sedan. The new Honda Accord also made an appearance at the elegantly styled Honda pavilion. Chevrolet revealed the facelifted Cruze compact sedan, which has been a successful model for the bowtie brand. The Spin 7-seater compact MPV also shared the limelight with the new Cruze (which will arrive later this year in the Philippines). Suzuki highlighted their display with the Indonesian-developed Ertiga compact MPV, which joins the Spin, Daihatsu Xenia, Toyota Avanza in the emerging segment.
European tuning and styling houses Brabus, Carlsson, Kelleners Sport led the aftermarket foray along with local and regional brands to promote custom auto style and modification, which is very much in tune with the theme of this year’s show. Car audio giants also displayed their latest offerings inside the trade hall and demonstrated their setups at the outdoor activity area where an audio competition and party was held as well.
Thailand's bid for F1
To promote Thailand’s bid to host its very own Formula One race in 2015, a special display featuring one of the racecars of Prince Bira and a Red Bull Racing Formula One car paid tribute to 80 years of motorsport in the kingdom.