One ride in Bangkok: the cars of the Thailand Motor Expo
Thailand tries to jumpstart its auto industry with the blockbuster 2014 Motor Expo
Aside from the Bangkok Motor Show usually held in March each year, the regional as well as the local Thai automotive market look forward to the annual Thailand Motor Expo at the Impact Challenger Convention Center in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok.
Now on its 31st edition, a number of models and variants were unveiled during this event, and which served as the opportunity also for regional and local market debuts of automakers especially with factories based in Thailand.
This is likewise a widely anticipated show since this is where local Thai car buyers converge to avail of special deals. This year, it will be a critical year for the Thai market after suffering from a slump in local demand for new vehicles, as its economy has suffered from setbacks due to the prevailing martial law in the country.
Following are among the key highlights of this year’s show:
Nissan Thailand unveiled its next generation NP300 Navara pickup truck during the expo. Nissan Thailand spent some $100 million for a new Navara pickup assembly plant that started production only in July. The new Nissan Navara will be expected to hit the local market sometime in the first quarter next year, while production for the PH variants will begin as early as December.
At the Mercedes-Benz pavilion, the highlights include the new generation CLS and the local debut of the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid AMG Dynamic and C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid Estate AMG Dynamic. To entice its buyers, Mercedes-Benz Thailand offered a free one-year premium insurance and an extended MB protection program.
It also raffled off an S-Class S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid AMG Premium, valued at 6.79 million baht. Mercedes-Benz also had a separate pavilion for its Proven Exclusivity displays located on a separate showcase inside the massive Impact Challenger exhibition hall where some certified pre-owned vehicles were being offered with special deals.
Ford Thailand unveiled the all-new 2015 Mustang which has been very well received by the North American market. Aside from the traditional V8 engine, a four-cylinder Ecoboost engine will be offered in some markets. Mustang is also celebrating its 50th milestone year and based on initial reception in the market, this new-generation Mustang looks like a very worthy successor.
SAIC Motor-CP Co. Ltd. and MG Sales (Thailand) Co. Ltd., the manufacturer and distributor respectively of British automotive brand MG in Thailand, unveiled the MG3, a B-segment car in celebration of MG’s 90th anniversary.
Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in the region unveiled the all-new Legacy and Outback models (See related story on Page B3-4), while BMW showcased its BMW M4 Coupe.
Mitsubishi unveiled its all-new Triton pickup truck model. Dubbed as the Strada in the Philippines, the new Strada/Triton pickup is set to debut in the Philippine market early next year.
Honda Thailand, meanwhile, held the regional debut of the all-new and much-anticipated HR-V model, while Mazda unveiled its Mazda 2 model.
Photos by Alvin Uy