Alternative Fuel

Auto Tax Reforms Concern Industry

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...

Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 3 Video Previews

GT5 thumnail image

It's time to start getting really excited, and not because of cars, but because of ones and zeros!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology little boys (and other people) can immerse themselves into astonishingly realistic racing simulations, hopefully satisfying the need to go fast.

GT5, and Forza 3 look so realistic that you need to keep reminding yourself that this is not real. Although not quite photo-realistic, the graphics look amazing. You can check out preview videos of GT5 and Forza 3 after the jump. And then start saving for a PS3 or an Xbox 360!

A Look to the Future - Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

In this article we take a look at the Chevrolet Volt and try to work out if it is really worth waiting for. Will it actually give the Prius a run for its money? Is it the way forward?

What is the Volt?

The Chevrolet Volt is GM's answer to the assault of the Toyota Prius. The Prius is the top selling hybrid car in the world. When the Volt project was announced, oil prices were climbing steadily higher, pushing more and more buyers away from the SUVs that GM had been enjoying so much success with in the preceding years.

GM finally woke up to the threat posed by a combination of high oil prices and the apparent surge in popularity of affordable hybrid cars. The company reacted in true American fashion, by setting their engineers a seemingly impossibly difficult task to complete in an impossibly small time frame. The Volt was that task.

Toyota Seeking Special Privileges from Thai government

Toyota Motor Thailand is currently lobbying the Thai government, seeking a lifting of import duty for CKD parts to be used in the assembly of hybrid vehicles in Thailand.

Camry Hybrid Image

This actually comes as little surprise, since Toyota are to start assembly of the Camry Hybrid next year. Toyota are seeking to have the 30-40% duties removed, to allow them to price the Camry Hybrid under THB 2 million.

Proton Persona - CNG on a Budget

Proton are continuing their assault on the Thai market with the Persona CNG. The Persona enters a very very tough segment, with existing models have very commanding positions. We can't go far here without comparisons to the almost bulletproof Vios and the equally solid City, and this is what the Persona faces.

Proton Persona CNG Image

So does it stand a chance? Who is going to buy a Malaysian Proton, ahead of locally assembled and safe options like the Toyota and Honda. Read on to find out....

Proton Gen 2 CNG Speeding

I was researching for a Proton related story when I stumbled upon this video that I would like to share.

The video that follows is one of a guy speeding in a Gen 2 on a Thai highway. He tops out just short of 180 km/h. Why am I putting this video up? Well we all know that a Gen 2 can go at 180 km/h, so it's not about that. And it's not because he crashes at the end either.

New Ford Focus TDCi Now Automatic

Ford Focus Image

Ford has increased the appeal of the diesel version of the Focus by adding an automatic transmission to the mix. Previously only available with a 6-speed manual, the Focus 2.0 TDCi was never likely to win too many friends, despite this being an excellent combination in practical terms.

And the better news is that Ford has put a "PowerShift" semi-automitic transmission in the Focus, with a dual-clutch system and offering 6 speeds. This has some advantages over a conventional automatic transmission based on a torque converter. Most notably it is significantly more efficient, and will allow the Focus to return just a touch over 17 km/l.

Ford has also made some cosmetic changes to the Focus, bringing a fresh look to the ageing line up. The Focus update is quite substantial, with a completely new front end.

Read on for the full details on the car:

Mitsubishi Lancer Last Ditch CNG Sales Promotion

Mitsubishi Lancer Front Image

The last time I posed a story on the Mitsubishi Lancer was over a year ago. Back then the Lancer was already an old and tired platform, screaming out to be replaced.

The Honda Civic, Toyota Altis, Chevrolet Optra, Mazda3, and Ford Focus, all make the Lancer a very poor looking option in this segment of the market.

Mitsubishi have been using a combination of keen pricing, and a 5-year-warranty period to extend the shelf-life of the Lancer, well beyond it's actual sell-by-date.

Most recently, Mitsubishi Thailand has started to offer a CNG version of the Lancer at no extra cost to the consumer. This sounds like a good deal, and with prices starting at THB 694,000, this could actually be considered good value for a 1.6 litre Lancer. Good, if you don't mind driving around in 9-year-old technology.

Chevrolet Planning Volt for Thai Market in 2011

Chevrolet Volt Image

This is the first time I get to write about the new Chevrolet plug-in hybrid, as there is finally a Thai connection to the story.

According to the source, GM could bring the Chevrolet Volt to Thailand as early as 2011. The decision to bring the new car to Thailand is not all that surprising, and could eventually pave the way for local assembly in Thailand.

What is this Volt thing?

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, it's unlikely that you haven't already heard about the Chevrolet Volt. If you simply google the word "volt" you'll get some indication about how important the Volt has become.

Chevrolet Cruze to be the 2010 Optra

Update (28 Sep 08) : Interior image added.

GM recently unveiled the Chevrolet Cruze, which is to be the new global compact car for the auto giant. This is likely to replace the Optra here in Thailand within 2009. It is likely that the car will be called the Optra here.

2010 Cruze Image

E85 Plus - Government Fast-tracks Ethanol Rollout

PTT have a new category of fuel listed: E85. The new 85% ethanol 15% petrol blend will be THB 20.19 per litre as of tomorrow (29-Aug-2008). This makes the new fuel THB 7.20 cheaper than E20.

Volvo S40

The big question is where are the cars? Despite the eagerness to produce and supply E85, flex-fuel vehicles are still not here. The Thai government are currently working on ways to entice automakers into bringing vehicles with E85 technology to Thailand.

Hyundai Sonata with Free CNG Installation

Hyundai joins Mercedes and Chevrolet by offering a CNG model in Thailand. Hyundai is now offering the Sonata 2.0 EL and 2.0 SP in bi-fuel variants, capable of running on CNG and Gasohol.

Sonata Front

The factory fitted system comes with a shortened 3 year or 100,000 km warranty, down from the 5 year warranty offered on standard models.

Ford Focus Diesel by end of 2008

Focus Diesel

Ford Thailand is planning to bring a diesel version of its Focus with an automatic transmission to Thailand by the end of this year. Although the Focus is already available in Thailand with a diesel engine, it is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Camry Hybrid for Thailand in 2009

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota will begin production of the Camry Hybrid in Thailand in 2009. Toyota is to produce 9,000 units a year in Thailand, starting in 2009.

In order to make the adjustments to the assembly line at the Gateway plant in Chachoengsao province, Toyota is making an investment of THB 90 million.

Government E85 Policy - (What) are they thinking?

The Thai government is pressing ahead with an accelerated introduction of their E85 policy, and while this might seem like good news, some are already starting to question the wisdom of this decision. Here are some thoughts on E85, and the way it is being pushed.

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