Cool new cars and plugging in to a new way of moving forward
For its 44th edition, the Bangkok International Motor Show once again welcomed international visitors, international media, VIP guests, local car buyers, and enthusiasts to the ASEAN region’s largest and grandest motor show.
The 2023 Bangkok International Motor Show features over 40 global car and motorcycle brands in its 60,000-square-meter indoor exhibition space and over 110,000 square meters for ancillary activities and vehicle test drive area.
Electrified mobility was in full force as the adoption of electric vehicles gain popularity in Thailand and the region. Leading the charge are Chinese marques BYD, GWM, MG, and NETA; all with bountiful tech and attractive pricing. BYD went out with a full EV foray with the Dolphin hatchback on stage and the Denza D9 MPV on display.
GWM went large with the ASEAN debut of the Tank 500 HEV SUV. MG unveiled the Maxus 9 EV MPV, an interesting development that could possibly signal SAIC direction for the Philippine market to have MG badged Maxus models as well.
Audi, Bentley, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz presented their latest EVs and hybrid models for the premium vehicle segment. Audi presented the RS e-tron GT quattro, Bentley presented the Flying Spur Hybrid in very opulent Mulliner and standard trims, BMW came in big figuratively and literally with its XqM PHEV super SUV, and Mercedes-Benz with their EQB 7-seat EV MPV.
Peugeot presented the 2008 EV alongside the new 408 PHEV for the first time in ASEAN as their zero to ultra-low emission offerings. Mini makes a cheeky preview of its MINI Electric 3-door hatchback wrapped in vinyl with “I’m on my way Mini Electric is 99% Downloaded”.
Japanese automakers play catch up as they launch mostly HEV models. Toyota put their Hilux BEV concept on stage alongside the all-new Prius HEV and the LPG HEV Thai Taxi Concept. The Hydrogen Corolla Cross also presented possible future products, but not immediately ready to market.
Honda stole the show with the regional reveal of the all-new CR-V with e:HEV and 7-seat 1.5-liter turbo-powered versions; it was joined by e:HEV versions of the Civic and HR-V. Mazda held the regional debut of the MX-30, its first battery-electric vehicle model. Nissan displayed their Autech-accessorized Kicks e-Power. Isuzu displayed special editions of its D-Max and mu-X.
Mitsubishi Motors held the global debut of their “XRT Concept”; essentially a near-production of the next-generation Strada/Triton pickup wrapped in camouflage vinyl. The XRT has been spotted testing in Thailand and other parts of the world. It will also underpin the next-generation Montero Sport/Pajero Sport and share its platform with the Nissan Navara pickup and Nissan Terra SUV.
Ford concentrated mostly on pickups and SUVs with their diesel engine-equipped Ranger Raptor, Ranger Stormtrak, and Everest Wildtrak. We expect these models to arrive in our market soon.
The most special car at this year’s motor show would have to be the Prodrive P25, a modernized version of the iconic blue Subaru Impreza WRX 22B. The P25 was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the iconic car; now with a 2.5-liter engine producing 400 hp and 600 Nm of torque with only 25 units in existence. The price is an insane 55 million baht (Php 88,800,000)!
The recently launched second-generation BMW M2 makes its ASEAN motor show debut at BIMS this year. The FL5 Honda Civic Type-R was also on display, it retails for 3.99M baht (approx. Php 6,384,000).
Porsche was perhaps the most show theme appropriate with this bespoke 911 to commemorate the brand’s 30th anniversary in Thailand, it was on stage alongside the limited 1,250 units of 911 Sport Classic.
With the landscape of motor shows across the globe folding and rebranding, the Bangkok International Motor Show has proven itself as one of the most resilient; having continued on during and after the global pandemic which paralyzed most of the world.
Open for the public at the Impact Challenger Halls from March 22 to April 2, 2023, this year’s Bangkok Motor Show awaits over 1 million visitors. The organizer expects to generate more than 40,000 sales bookings at this year’s show, according to Bangkok Motor Show Chairman Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow.