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15 Dec 11 00:22
28th Thai Motor Expo 27,000 Cars Sold
John K Lindgren
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THE 28th THAILAND INTERNATIONAL MOTOR-EXPO ended on a high note with 27,021 units bookings or 8,1 percent above the target of 25,000 vehicles and 29.5 billion THB worth of new and used cars and accessories changed hands.
(photo: Edd Ellison/Interfuture Media)

A crowd of 1.4 million visitors came to see the new vehicles, the aftermarket auto parts and not withstanding the ubiquitous charming MotorExpo pretties.

The annual end-of-the-year mega event at IMPACT Challenger Hall took place only weeks after la grande deluge, the monster inundation that hit the Kingdom in October/November.

"This reflects the power of co-ordination from all parties - the organiser, exhibitors and the general public," said Mr Kwanchai Paphatpong, president and chief executive officer of Inter-Media Consultant Co and organising chairman of the show. "Despite the disaster, all got through the crisis with cooperation."

The day before the show kicked off, the sales target was lowered to 25,000 cars and pickups over the 12-day sales exhibition from the original target of 30,000 units. Only five thousand down from 2011 30,000 booked vehicles. Here the top selling cars and pickups at Thailand International MOTOREXPO 2011

NISSAN 4,600 passengers and commercial vehicles

2nd MAZDA 4,500 sedans and pickups

3rd ISUZU 3,400 only pickups

4th FORD 3,380 the only non Japanese brand

5th MITSUBISHI 3,100 cars and pickups.

Two of the Japanese auto giants were out of competition: Toyota, the market leader, and Honda, every year a strong performer. Toyota had just resumed operations on November 21 and was unsure it could make deliveries, while Honda still does not know when its CKD- assembly plant in Ayutthaya can open after the historical province was totally submerged during the floods.

For ueber luxury imported and CKD assembled cars, the Teutonic market leaders Mercedes-Benz moved 439 units and BMW had bookings for 251 vehicles. The premium Italian performance bike Ducati sold 124 units.

Among the MotorExpo 2011 highlights was the launch of the all-new and all-wheel-drive Subaru crossover in North America known crosstrek. The “Subie” XV is the first stage of an ambitious plan by parent Fuji Heavy Industries to kick-start global sales over the next five years.

It will be followed by a handful of new all-wheel-drive models - including a hybrid and replacements for the Impreza, WRX and STi - that Subaru plans to launch by 2016 to meet a global sales target of 900,000 vehicles, up from 657,000 last year.

The sparkling, sky blue metallic XV is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer engine, the company’s trademark power plant layout, which is developing 150 horsepower and a peak torque of 196 Nm.

Another Subaru brand feature is the Symmetrical AWD All Wheel Drive. The XV’s suspension consists of front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbones.
While the XV’s shape looks similar to the Impreza hatchback’s at a glance, its front and rear styling is unique. It measures 4,450 mm long and has a 2,635 mm wheelbase a little longer and wider than the Impreza hatch back.

Finally, the pretties. The permanent fixtures at each and every car show in Thailand. They've been strutting their stuff since the last century. And everybody loves them. In Europe you saw them in the paddock, on the and on the podium often holding the magnum champagne Mumm bottle scantily clad in hot pants. In the United Kingdom, the race queens were called 'pit babes'. In continental Europe they are known as 'grid or pit girls' while in the car crazy South Korea they are called 'racing girls'.

In Thailand, they are more commonly known as the “pretties”. And the pre-show selection to became a “pretty”, a presenter is tough. Requirements: university level education, language skills plus photogenic presentation.

MotorExpo sans concept cars aka protoype vehicles is a no show. One of this years concept car highlights was the ultra, pocket size Nissan Nuvu "New View" a compact all-electric city car with 2+1 seating, with solar panels. Three meter long seating for three. Driver + two passengers. As parking parking space becomes more limited this is the type of the vehicle the global urban driver needs.

The 2011 Thailand International will be remembered – as the show which was declared as a “No-Show” - but bounced back and sold a whopping 27,000 plus vehicles.

That was the the number of cars manufactured in the United States in year 1905 - 27 000 automobiles. Yes Sir!
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