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bangkok car show

A record number of orders are expected to be placed at this year's Bangkok International Motor Show, which officially kicks off on Wednesday at the Challenger Hall, Muang Thong Thani.

The event is one of the region's largest auto exhibition and sales extravaganzas, marking the start of the second-quarter auto-buying season. Organiser Prachin Eamlumnow says that a record 40,000 orders could be placed this year, and as much as Bt30 billion (S$1.2 billion) is expected to change hands during the event, which goes on until April 8.

'Most of the orders placed will be for eco-cars, due to the larger number of models available,' he said.

Apart from automobiles, the show also attracts visitors in the accessories and car audio section, lured by the great number of pretty models at each booth.

According to Dr Prachin, as many as 15,000 orders could be placed for eco-cars, which enjoy low excise duty as part of the Thai government's promotion of a second champion product for the Thai auto industry.

Mitsubishi and Suzuki have just launched their own eco-car models, the Mirage and the Swift respectively. They join the Nissan March and Almera, as well as the Honda Brio in the eco-car segment with retail prices starting at below Bt400,000.

Ford will be putting the spotlight on the Fiesta Sport Ultimate that comes with a total of seven airbags, as well as a 1.5-litre version of the Fiesta that now qualifies for the First Car Buyer programme.

The American automaker will take the wraps off the new Focus, which will be assembled at its new plant in Rayong province and officially launched later this year.

Toyota, the largest automaker in the country and the only major company to offer hybrid vehicles, will launch the all-new Camry (hybrid and petrol versions), updated Prius and the 86, the compact sports car that was developed from the FT 86 concept.

Toyota is also showing off the Prius C hatchback, which it plans to offer in the Thai market at a later period.

Honda is expected to make a strong comeback with the all-new Civic, after the project had to be postponed due to last year's flood. It is also offering the CR-Z hybrid at less than Bt2 million with the car being ready for customer delivery.

The all-new Civic is displayed at the show, but deliveries will take longer as Honda's plant has just been renovated and will need time to reach full capacity.

Korean automaker Hyundai is banking on the new Elantra compact sedan to help expand its customer base, and is also testing market reaction with the Veloster crossover that could be offered in the near future.

Other highlights include the BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Lexus GS 250, Mini Roadster and Volvo V60 Drive.

Rolls-Royce is also taking part in the show with four cars, including the Phantom Drophead Coupe and Ghost (standard and long wheelbase). The British luxury marque has already netted a customer during the VIP Day on Monday night, who placed an order for the Ghost, priced at more than Bt23 million.

Italian sports car maker Lamborghini is also showing off its latest models. Other popular sports cars include the Porsche 911 and Bentley Continental GT V8.

In terms of concept vehicles, among the highlights are the Toyota FT-EV III, Toyota NS4, Mazda Minagi, Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class and the Nissan Townpod.

source: straitstimes

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