Images surface of 2008 Accord

Honda have been doing a great job keeping the lid on any and all information relating to the 2008 Honda Accord. We do know that it will be coming to Thailand in time for the Motor Expo in November. Anyway, finally some photos of the Accord are starting to surface on the web and we have some idea of the style of the interior.

If you like the Civic interior and were hoping Honda would go down that route for the Accord then you are going to be a little disappointed. Even though the steering wheel, borrows heavily from the design style of the Civic, the Accord aims at a more "serious" market and this means that a more conservative approach has been maintained, in order to avoid putting people off.

2008 Accord Interior

I would argue that Honda have probably gone as far as they can go in one step, without alienating their current customer base.

No new Lancer in next 2 years?

Mitsubishi motors are struggling in Thailand. With a measly 4.5 percent of the market share on sales of just 6,600 units for the first quarter of '07, Mitsubishi really need some new, exciting and competitive machinery in their line up. Something like a new Lancer would help!

2008 Lancer

Chevrolet gives Optra 2nd facelift

2007 Chevrolet Optra update picture

This is the new face of the Optra saloon, and the estate has received similar treatment as part of the car's second and final update before a all-new model is launched. The facelift is much more striking than the previous effort, which is mostly down to the fact that the headlamps are completely revised and the new two section grille separated by a thick horizontal beam bearing the Chevrolet badge.

Hyundai setting up plant - production starts in Q4 2007

Hyundai Sonata

South Korea's top automaker, Hyundai Motor Co. announced yesterday that they plan to open a production facility in Thailand. Hyundai Motor (Thailand) will distribute 3 models in Thailand, with production of the Sonata due to start in the 4th quarter of this year.

Hyundai are hoping for a successful re-entry to the Thai market, and it has been 10 years since their last effort in Thailand came to an abrupt end in 1997 during the Thai financial crisis. But the timing of this move isn't fantastic given the political uncertainty in the Country leading up to the elections.

Honda to double Thai production capacity with second plant

Honda has announced the investment of THB 6.2 billion in a second manufacturing plant in Thailand. This represents Hondas largest single investment in Thailand to date, and will double the companies production operations here to 240,000 units per year.

The plant will be built at the existing Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (HATC) facility in Ayutthya, making it the largest passenger car production facility of any international manufacturer in the ASEAN region.

'Ford Mega Exciting Day'

Yes, there is an event called the 'Ford Mega Exciting Day', an official Ford Thailand event to mark the 11th year in Thailand for the company. And despite the name making it seem that it is a one-day event, it is actually a weekend deal.

Subaru THB 300 million investment in 'Beyond Ordinary Showroom'

Subaru Impreza

Subaru vehicles are imported to Thailand by Motor Image Subaru, and they have just invested THB 300 million on a new showroom and service center. Located on Serithai road, the facility is intended to expand the profile of the brand, as well as prepare for future investments.

As with the majority of cars imported in CBU form, Subaru models are expensive when compared to locally built opposition, and so it is important for Motor Image Subaru to project the image of a premium brand (owing to the premium pricing.)

Fair trade finally applied to Malaysian vehicles

Thailand has finally done the right thing and applied the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) to Malaysian built vehicles. Up to now Thailand maintained a 20% tariff on Malaysian imports citing the Malaysian Approved Permits (AP) system as a barrier to market for Thai built vehicles.

It seems that Thailand has finally conceded that the AP system is not a problem, and so the zero to five percent tariff will apply in accordance with the CEPT.

You can read the full story here.

Related story : Higher import duties might end trade

Sornram Kills Woman in Car Crash

Sornram Thepitak, a popular Thai actor, crashed his BMW on Wednesday night killing a 59-year-old woman, destroying a phone-booth, and felling a tree in the process.

Both the Bangkok Post, and The Nation have reported on the "accident" with slightly different reports. I drove past the scene of the accident shortly after it had happened, but didn't pay much attention because I hate rubbernecking, and don't want to be a hypocrite. What my wife and I did notice was the rear end of a BMW 5 series, a tree down blocking some of the road, and a body in the back of a truck, wrapped tightly in cloth, and a lot of people milling around and talking on mobile phones.

Facelifted Mazda3 on the way?

2007 Mazda 3

Could Mazda be about to introduce a facelift to the Mazda3? Despite still looking fresh, the Mazda3 might be due for a minor update. The Thai newspaper Yuadyarn carries an image of the Mazdaspeed3 on the front page, while announcing that a facelift is on the way. But this is not to say that the 265 hp rocket is coming to Thailand!

Actually, things are a little more mundane, with the usual sprinkling of minor detail adjustments to the styling to signal that the 3 is on it's last legs with another 2-3 years before a new model will be introduced.

Eco-Car excise duty 'will not exceed 15%'

Update : The excise rate has been set at 17%!

Details of the Eco-car project continue to trickle out at a frustratingly slow pace, making it seem that nobody really know what is going on. As soon as any tentative details do surface, they are generally met with a barrage from every side, with most of the criticism coming from the industry itself.

Although the final rate will be set by the Cabinet, Deputy Finance Minister Sommai Phasee has pinned a "15% or lower" excise rate on the manufacture of Eco-cars.

Why Toyota should bring Aygo to Thailand

Small Aygo

Ask the "expert" analysts about the Thai auto market and they will tell you things like: The Thai public hate hatchbacks, they want big cars with big boots, and they want pickup trucks. I think the "experts" are wrong. I think that the Thai motoring public would lap up a Eco-Car, and the sooner Toyota bring the Aygo to Thailand the better.

Of course there are other small cars that could come to Thailand, but the Aygo has the most going for it. First.... it's a Toyota, the company that dominates virtually every segment of the market in Thailand.

Honda tweak City ZX... slightly

The Honda City, and its hatchback sibling, the Jazz, are running out of steam. Fresher models from Toyota and even Chevrolet are stunting Honda sales in the sub-compact market. With the recent appearance of the brand new Toyota Vios, it is not surprising to see Honda beef up the City ZX in an effort to stay competitive.

But this is the second round of minor changes for the City, and a brand new model should be on the market sometime in 2008. Is this City ZX worth a look?

Lotus Elise and Exige to join Thai market

Lotus Exige

It's hard not to like cars like the Lotus Elise R and Exige S. They offer super-car performance to the masses with very reasonable price-tags (in the UK at least) considering the blistering performance they are capable of.

Finally enthusiasts in Thailand have access to the Elise and Exige via importer, and authorised distributor Niche Cars. Within the next 12 months, Niche Cars plan to add additional models to their Lotus line-up, including the Exige Cup 255, Elise S and 2-Eleven.

Toyota Fortuner exhaust problems? - Toyota says "No"

Fortuner

Toyota Motor Thailand have carried out a "careful inspection" of Fortuners in production to investigate a customer complaint, claiming that exhaust gases were entering the cabin near the rear seats.

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