There are literally a handful of mainstream manufacturers in Thailand. Some of the blame for this situation lies with the high levels of tax that forms a barrier to entry for new brands unwilling to invest heavily in manufacturing bases here in Thailand. But, while tax has something to do with it, I believe it is also true to say that the average Thai car owner is very conservative.
With the Nissan March and the Honda Brio leading the way in eco-car sales, Toyota has yet to join the cheap-car party.
The Yaris and Vios are getting old, and although a 2012 Yaris is being prepared for Europe and other markets, there is reason to suspect that Toyota might drop the Yaris and Vios, and replace them with an entirely new car. Oh boy!
Let's take a look at the Toyota Etios, a car which looks like Toyota's most likely contender for Thailand's eco-car project.
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Following up on the previous coverage of the 2012 Honda CR-V story, there is now an image of the all-new 2012 Honda CR-V in the open, albeit with a fairly heavily disguised front end.
Proposed changes to vehicle tax rates to be based on CO2 emissions are being met with some degree of reservation by the Thai auto industry, ever keen to hammer out the best possible deal.
Will the squeaky wheel get the kick or the oil? Who's crying like the biggest baby? Read on...
Isn't it amazing how little the car has changed? And when you see something like this from Chevrolet, you'd wonder why something so simple hadn't been thought of before now.
The Chevrolet Cruze seems to be turning into something of a pleasant surprise. The strong performance on the Euro NCAP, the interesting design both inside and out, and the seeming good value for money. And then there are little things like this:
Australian inventor, Steve Durnin, has developed a new transmission system that he believes will be ideal for use in cars. Capable of providing infinitely variable transmission, the D-Drive removes the need for a clutch.
The D-Drive is far from simple. But the video below should help.
Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Thailand’s second largest manufacturer and exporter of passenger cars, today exhibited its Honda New Small Concept, a compact-sized concept model and the U3-X, a new personal mobility device at the 31st Bangkok International Motor Show. Both mobility products, exhibited for the first time in Thailand, are expected to be the main attractions at Honda’s booth this year.
Toyota are due to dispaly a new small car in India. The Toyota Etios (apparently meaning "the origin of") at the 2010 Delhi Auto Expo which begins later this week. Usually cars released on the Indian market don't give much insight into the Thai market, but this could be different.
A while back I did a speculative piece and suggested that the Nissan Eco Car could be on the market as soon as October 2009. Well, it's now almost 2010, so I guess you win some, but not the rest.
But this morning Nissan Thailand sent me a very nice little card in the mail, and I'm sure they won't mind me sharing it with you all here. It seems that while I was wrong about the timing of the Eco Car launch, I was probably right about the actual car Nissan would use. Read on...
Tesla Motors are powering ahead with their Model S. The sedan is set for launch as a 2011 model and Tesla are trying to keep us interested, remind us that they are still around, and further heighten or expectations with this latest video.
For the most part it is the usual self-indulgent designer attempting to convince us that this is the greatest design ever. There are some interesting details in the video though and it's worth four minutes for anyone who is looking forward to a world that finally kisses the ICE goodbye. If the Model S is realised, then Tesla is looking set to drag the rest of the industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Enjoy the video.
Although most automakers seem to be trying hard to keep a positive attitude in the face of a dramatic slow down in the industry, few are as optimistic as Hyundai Thailand. The company is eyeing 63% growth this year, and is already looking forward to introducing new cars.
Of course Hyundai can realise this 63% growth by achieving sales of just 1,500 units this year, compared to about 900 units in 2008. Hyundai's big seller is the H1, a people mover/VAN that offers good value for money despite coming into the country in CBU (completely built up) form. Hyundai will introduce a freshened up version of the H1, to be kitted out with some extra equipment, at the upcoming Bangkok Motor Show.
The situation for the global auto industry is looking increasingly bleak, and here in Thailand things are no different, with the industry posting sales figures for January that show a drop in sales of almost 30% when compared to January 2008.
Passenger car sales are down by about 10% which isn't actually all that bad. But commercial vehicle sales dipped almost 40% to just 18,558 units.