The Toyota Corolla Altis is Bangkok’s taxi. Over the years I have spent countless hours as a passenger in the Altis, but not a lot of time behind the wheel of the most popular C Segment car in Bangkok. In fact, it has been 6-years since I drove the 2008 Altis.
Last month I finally got behind the wheel of the “All-new” 2014 model and I’d like to share my opinions but before that I’ll cut to the chase and state it up front: The 2014 Altis is a great car! But... it isn’t perfect.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis is coming soon. The US and European version of the car have been unveiled already, and while there will be some differences, the Thai version will be more or less following the European model in terms of design and specification.
For that reason, we will focus on the European model here.
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.
Photos of the 2012 Toyota Camry were leaked a few weeks ago, but those were of the North American version. Now we have images of the model that interests us, the one that is a much closer match for the Thai market version.
So what can be said about the new 2012 Toyota Camry? Well, I think it's fair to say that the overall look of the car is okay. Although everything has changed and this is an all-new car, it retains a familiarity that is somehow comforting.
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.
Thailand is an amazing country, full of verity and choice. Fruit, for many western countries, means that you will be looking at apples, oranges, bananas, and seasonal berries most of which are imported anyway. In contrast, Thailand offers a staggering array of locally grown fruits.
The country is blessed with natural beauty that attracts millions of tourists annually. And by and large Thailand is a very interesting place to visit, complete with a rich and proud history and culture. But.... this is a car site. And writing about Cars in Thailand isn't always all that interesting. In fact, truth be told, the Thai auto market is bland as can be.
Why is this the case? Do Thai's not have good Taste in cars?
Thailand is set to be the third country to produce the Prius hybrid. Starting next month, the Prius will join the Cmary Hybrid on Toyota's Gateway facility production line.
For hybrid vehicles to have any chance of success in Thailand pricing needs to be competitive. Toyota's decision to produce the Prius locally should help, and since the units built in Thailand will be for the domestic and local market, perhaps there is some room for Toyota to shave a few baht off the price when deciding the equipment levels that will be offered on the standard model.
Apparently, Thailand is to relinquish it's role as the production hub for the Toyota Fortuner to Indonesia. According to paultan.org, this will happen sometime in July or August this year.
There could be many reasons for this move, but it is most likely related to the recent shuttering of the Samrong Plant, where the Fortuner was produced alongside the Vigo.
Toyota is to suspend production at its Thai Auto Works (TAW) plant at the end of the month. The plant in Samrong has been cranking out 60,000 vehicles a year, specifically the Fortuner and Vigo models, the bulk of which were for the export market.
The decision to suspend production was taken late last year, in the midst of an effort by the company to make best use of its global manufacturing resources.
Now this is cool. I'd been struggling to think of a single place that the iPad would be better than an iPhone, or a laptop. But I hadn't thought of this! These guys have fitted the iPad into a truck, and although they're not completely finished at this point, this looks like a very nice use for the device.
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.
For the auto industry, 2009 will probably be a year to forget. With a few exceptions, the majority of car makers have suffered the worst results ever. The results haven't been pretty either with job losses, bankruptcies, yadda yadda.
So, I've decided to dispense with 2009 news early. Let's look forward to 2010.
The car pictured above is the next generation Toyota Wish, and based on it, I think the we have reason to believe that things will get better in 2010.