Automakers hopeful of boost as motor show kicks off today
THE 38TH RUNNING of the annual Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) kicks off today at Impact Muang Thong Thani with automakers crossing their fingers for the market to continue growing after finishing last year with a slight shrinkage.
Altogether 768,788 vehicles were sold in the domestic market last year for a drop of 3.9 per cent, but auto companies are optimistic that the market has bottomed out and sales would reach 800,000-810,000 units this year.
The BIMS is considered a sales extravaganza, with companies launching fleets of new and improved models while dangling irresistible promotions.
More than 30 auto and 12 motorcycle brands are showcasing their products at the event, which goes to April 9.
“The BIMS is an auto exhibition event that brings together the highest level of automotive technology and one that helps drive the economy,” said Prachin Eamlumnow, chairman of the organizing committee.
“Throughout the event, starting from construction to the last day, no less than Bt40 billion is expected to be spent.”
The show serves as a platform for displaying the latest automotive trends. It also helps stimulate the car market, allowing consumers to compare makes and models by visiting just a single venue.
Several companies are also showing off futuristic concept vehicles.
Toyota is displaying its FCV Plus, while Mitsubishi is putting the spotlight on the MiEV Evolution III. Nissan is unveiling its SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) vehicle, featuring the world’s first bio-ethanol electric power system.
Prachin expects increased competition in the passenger-car market this year.
“Since the start of the year, there has been a good number of new passenger car launches for small and medium-sized models, which were postponed from last year because of the passing away of King Bhumibhol. The premium market is also seeing a lot of action due to the increasing number of players,” he said.
The premium segment is welcoming a new player, as Meister Technik Co has been appointed as the new official Audi importer and is offering a large combination of models to compete against leaders Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Many consumers are ready to replace vehicles purchased through the last elected government’s first-car-buyer scheme, with the five-year ownership requirement ending last October for the first batch of buyers.
“We believe that this group of buyers will start looking for a new vehicle, but we can’t pinpoint what type of vehicle they will be interested in. They could upgrade to a larger model or still go for a small car,” Prachin said.
Eased financing measures during the past two years have helped more people purchase vehicles, he added.
Source – TheNation