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At least 50,000 vehicle orders expected at world Motor Expo

It's business as usual at the 29th Thailand International Motor Expo.

The event, which opens tomorrow and goes on until December 10 at Muang Thong Thani, is showcasing 39 automobile and nine motorcycle brands along with an army of accessory manufacturers. At least 50,000 orders are expected to be placed at the event, which plays an important role in helping auto companies maximise sales before the year ends.

"But sales could rise to as many as 70,000 units this year because of the high sales targets that auto companies have set," Kwanchai Paphatphong, the organiser of the Motor Expo, said |yesterday.

New-car sales are expected to reach a record 1.4 million units this year, thanks to the complete recovery of assembly facilities damaged by last year's flood as well as production-capacity expansion.

The market has also welcomed many new models, while government stimulus programmes like the first-car-buyer scheme help draw in future purchasing power. Sorana Panja will go to the Motor Expo looking for a second car for his |girlfriend, after purchasing a Nissan March under the first-car scheme earlier this year.

"I'm interested in the [Nissan] Almera, and I think that the first-car scheme benefits the people. I hope that the government provides us with more programmes like this in the future," he said. On top of the government stimulus, participating auto companies have |prepared attractive sales promotions, which make the Motor Expo the |place to go for auto shopping at the moment.

BRIO AMAZE

Honda is offering a promotion for a new model for the first time - the choice of a 1.49-per-cent interest rate, Bt59,999 down payment or Bt3,813 monthly instalment for the Brio Amaze, which was launched in Bangkok last week.

The Brio Amaze is the four-door-sedan version of the Brio eco-car. Besides enjoying the low eco-car excise tax, the car qualifies for the first-car programme.

But the biggest promotion is the government's first-car policy, which offers tax rebates of up to Bt100,000 for qualified buyers. The programme ends on December 31.

Praphat Choeychom, vice president for marketing and sales at Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co, said almost 100 per cent of customers purchasing first cars would use the government promotion at the Nissan booth. "Our sales target at the Motor Expo is quite modest at 5,000 units, mostly from the Almera and March models that are purchased under the first-car programme," he said.

Mazda is hoping to sell up to 6,000 cars and trucks at this year's event.

"Most of our sales will come from the Mazda2 compact car and BT-50 PRO pickup, and more than half of the buyers will be using the first-car scheme. Special models like the limited-edition Mazda3 S+ and Mazda2 Racing Series will also help accelerate sales," a Mazda spokesman said.

Besides new production models, visitors will also get to see several concept vehicles from Nissan, Lexus, Tata, Hyundai and Mazda.


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