Nissan are not exactly racking up the sales in Thailand, and with a mere 40,000 units sold in the Kingdom in 2007, Nissan will be hoping that 2008 will be a better year. Of course industry sales were lower than forecast in 2007, with just 630,000 units sold, mostly due to the political climate.
But it is a new year, and Nissan are hoping that post-election stability will lead to increased consumer confidence, and perhaps a spending frenzy. But naturally they won't be sitting by and waiting for the sales to pour in. Here's what they have planned.....
In the Toyota Altis detailed preview article I made a few guesses that turned out to be right. But that article was written in March, and if it had all been accurate, I would start a new career in gambling. One thing that wasn't accurate was the launch date. I expected the Altis to launch in October, or at least in time for the Thailand International Motor Expo in November.
A picture tells a thousand words, and a video is even better. Here is a promotional video of the 2008 Fit, which will give you a very clear indication of the Jazz that will be arriving in Thailand early next near.
For more information and details on the 2nd generation Honda Jazz, you can check out this preview article.
Tata Motors is India's biggest motor company, and although you might not have heard much about them in the global market, they are a big player given that the local market in India is massive. Long time readers at bkkAutos.com will also be used to hearing about Tata about once a year!
Every year there are rumblings in the industry news of Tata making moves towards entering the Thai market. In 2005 there was information about a deal between Tata and Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co. for local assembly of a Tata truck. Then in December 2006 there was more concrete news and it seemed that 2007 would be the year that Tata would start distribution in Thailand......
The 2008 Mazda2 is probably going to come to Thailand in 2009, and now there is also the prospect of this rather stylish sedan variant currently being marketed to the Chinese.
The five-door version we reported on earlier will provide a bit of competition in the small-car segment, currently the stomping ground for Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. And by the looks of this four-door Mazda2, the City and Vios would be given a serious run for their money.
Ford Thailand has announced the introduction of a diesel Focus to the market, representing the first "affordable" C segment diesel car in Thailand. But, fans of diesel engines needn't get too excited, this is really just Ford testing the water.
The Focus TFCi, featuring Ford's renowned 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi turbo-diesel common-rail injection engine, will only be available in one colour - black - and it will only be available in one configuration with one transmission - a 6-speed manual. So far this is not particularly bad news, is it? A nice 6-speed manual box is part of what allows the car to achieve an impressive fuel usage of just 5.6litres/100km, and at least they choose black for the colour, and not ... pink or lime green.
Toyota will officially unveil the all-new 2008 Altis in Thailand at the 2007 Thailand Motor Expo at the end of the month. Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to view the car and place orders, but first deliveries will start in January 2008.
Typically the Thailand Motor Expo is not worth the effort, but this year might be different, with Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, and Proton all choosing to unveil and launch new models at the event. In previous years the show has been little more than an oversized showroom, with only currently available models being shown. New car launches were more typical at the Bangkok International Motor Show, but perhaps this is the start of a trend. It seems that November/December is a better time to launch new models for the new-year sales window.
More details about the new Altis here.
Chevrolet Thailand are going to use the Thailand Motor Expo at the end of the month to launch the 2008 Colorado. Details are slim, but here is what we know, or can safely assume.
This will be a minor facelift, with updated styling, and some additional equipment options. According to Chevrolet, the 2008 Colorado will be available in a total of 28 variations, to offer more more choice. These variations will be based on the S-Cab, X-Cab and C-Cab models.
Engines are not going to change. I don't have pictures yet, but there will be a new front bumper, grille, and headlights, and updated taillights. Gone are the distinctive two level headlights, separated by a strong horizontal bar as is the case in the current model, replaced by rather ordinary looking lamps. But a truck is a truck, and they are never going to win any beauty contests.
The Colorado has been on sale in Thailand for 4 years, and has been doing okay for GM's low-cost brand. Chevrolet will be hoping that the facelift and additional choice of configurations will give a strong end to a year that has been very poor for the Thai market in general. We'll post up pictures when they are available.
The 2008 Fit will be hitting the streets in Japan on Friday, 26th October, and in the build up Honda have made an official release. The Fit is re-badged as Jazz for the Thai market, as well as other global markets outside Japan, but the car is otherwise virtually identical, apart from minor trim details. So, looking at the 2008 Fit, we now know what we can look forward to when the 2008 Jazz finally comes to Thailand.
Back when info started to leak out we had a look at the 2008 Jazz. Now that information is official we will try to give you as detailed as possible a preview of the 2008 Honda Jazz, including higher quality pictures.
Hyundai has entered the Thai market, and if you visit their showrooms you will be greeted by friendly sales staff hoping you will take an interest in one of the 3 models Hyundai Thailand have on offer.
The Santa Fe SUV, and the aptly named Coupe come in CBU (completely built up) form, meaning that they cost more than is reasonable due to being subject to heavy import duties on the way into the country. This is the first reason that I would give both of these cars a wide birth, and the second reason is the other car on show, the Sonata.
The launch of the fresh new S80 is expected to boost sales and help rejuvenate the brand image in Thailand. Volvo are expecting sales of over 100-units of the new car by the end of 2007. The new S80 is a dramatically different car than the outgoing model, with smoother flowing lines like its sporty S60 sibling.
Malaysian carmaker, Proton, is set to join the Thai market. But who in Thailand is going to buy one? Proton's entry to the Thai market has been made possible by the new low tariffs of just 0-5% on cars coming in from Malaysia under the Asean Free Trade Agreement. This will allow Malaysian built cars to compete on price with locally built models.
The cars will be distributed by Phranakorn Auto Sales Co Ltd. And if you visit the Thailand Motor Expo at the end of the year you'll get a chance to look at some of the Proton offerings that will be debuted at the show. Expect Proton models to compete by offering low-price models, and perhaps offer some very competitive finance and warranty deals.
But as with the announced return of Hyundai to the Thai market this year, this is ultimately good news because it means more choice for the consumer. I just can't imagine Proton making much of a splash in Thailand.
Finally we are starting to get a more solid idea of the 2008 Honda Jazz. Called the Honda Fit in the Japanese market, the Jazz is a very popular car and has been a global success for the marque. The Jazz has been a hit here in Thailand, and even with the arrival of the new generation Toyota Yaris, Honda has still had little trouble selling the Jazz in impressive numbers.
It's official. The new Accord has broken cover in the US, and this is virtually identical to the model that will roll off the Thai production lines in a few months time. Rather than comment too much on this, I'll just post up some images, and the details from the press release, and leave you to draw your own conclusions. But I will say this, I'd rather a Civic, or a Camry, or a current generation Accord. This looks more like Hyundai than Honda.
Remember that this press release is related to the US market, and the Thai version will also have a 2.0 4-pot engine option at the low end, and although it is possible that we will see a 3.5 V6 here to rival the Camry, it is more likely that the 3.0 V6 will be retained, to avoid the high tax that forces the Camry 3.5 price beyond reason.
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.
I would argue that Honda have probably gone as far as they can go in one step, without alienating their current customer base.