Bangkok Post letter reply

This weeks Bangkok Post Motoring section contains a trimmed version of my letter. I can't really complain much considering that they did contact me first and offered me the option to edit it down a bit myself. Still I feel that they missed out on a few points.

Here is the version of my email that they published:

EcoCar is 'easy to make'

Last week's Motoring section had two pieces on the EcoCar project. The first one (Off Record titled "Getting Started") rants on for ages about how impossible it will be to make a cheap car that will meet European safety and emissions standards, and yet we concede that Europe already makes them.

Toyota, for instance, is still able to build cars to this standard for 6,980 British pounds (around B480,000). That is the cost of a Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i. Isn't it at all possible that Toyota could build the Aygo here, and take advantage of the lower production costs, as well as BoI assistance, to help bring the car to market at under B400,000?

Perodua, Kia, Hyundai, Proton and Suzuki all make cars that are well below B400,000 and have them on sale in Europe.

The article also sums up what was completely unhelpful and badly conceived, starting with a notion that B400,000 baht was not a possible target unless the car was going to be rubbish.

Pushing for energy-saving vehicles is a worldwide effort. Thailand is not going to find a global niche product by working this angle while everyone else is working towards the same goal anyway.

To conclude: there are already many cars out there that are cheap, safe, nice to drive, and environmentally have a very limited impact, that would fit well into the EcoCar concept.

The next article "Implement EcoCar with impartiality" by Jessada Tandhasettee is generally better, and I agree with him virtually in every point. But the sentence "when a Thai buys a car, an expensive price tag isn't as much as an issue as self-indulgence" is another example of the lack of realistic thinking here.

Reading these articles, I was left with the impression that your paper has an agenda that doesn't take an interest in anything that is not relevant to your own interests. The EcoCar is a good idea, and if everyone was more positive about it the car would be built by now.

I can understand the auto industry individuals wanting to remain nameless in your article. Name that exec who doesn't think a value for money car is realistic. He doesn't deserve his job.


Motoring replies :We haven't mentioned anywhere that we are against EcoCar. Instead, we are bringing you, our dear readers, the views of the industry.

I suppose it's not too bad, but if you want to read what I actually wrote, as well as the articles that I was responding to, you can look at my last blog post.