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Motor Show expected to drive away with record sales

New Toyota Vios likely to be biggest seller



Despite the conclusion of the government's First Car Buyer Programme at the end of last year, the Bangkok International Motor Show is serving as a major auto extravaganza that is dramatically helping to boost auto sales.

Organisers of the motor show, which ends on Sunday at Muangthong Thani, are confident that more than a record 60,000 orders could be placed at this year's event, which features a large number of new models and concept vehicles.

But the biggest seller at the show is expected to be the new Toyota Vios, priced from Bt559,000 to Bt734,000, after orders were "discreetly" accepted late last year for customers to qualify for the First Car promotion.

Nevertheless, the Vios subcompact is so popular that even without the promotion, record sales are expected during the official launch period. Apart from being the most popular model in Thailand, the Vios is also the best-selling Asean model, and 45,000 of these cars are expected to be exported to 86 countries each year.

Unfortunately the 1.5-litre engine with 109hp and 141Nm has been carried over from the previous model. But improvements have been made to the engine, which now passes Euro 4 emission standards.

Meanwhile, in the luxury segment the spotlight is on the minor-change Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which for the first time comes with two available front-end designs - executive and AMG Dynamic.

The E-Class is now available with a 2.0-litre petrol, 2.2-litre diesel and 2.2-litre diesel hybrid powertrains, with the latter offering fuel economy of approximately 24km/litre and CO2 emissions of 107-110g/km. The car takes 7.5 seconds to hit 100km/h from a standstill, and top speed is claimed to be 242km/h.

Also adding colour to the luxury segment are the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and Lexus IS 300h, both hybrid-powered compact sports saloons.

And if you think hybrids are boring, have a look at what the 3 Series hybrid (priced from Bt4.199 million to Bt4.499 million) can do: 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. Meanwhile, the average fuel consumption is 16.9km/litre and its CO2 emission is 139g/km.

Japanese auto-maker Honda, after fully recovering from the mega flood in 2011 and announcing that it would build a new assembly plant in Prachin Buri, is highlighting its Accord midsized saloon, priced from Bt1.299 million to Bt1.799 million.

The new Accord comes with a long list of new features, including ANC (Adaptive Noise Control), which offers a remarkably quiet ride, and CMBS (Collision Mitigation Brake System) that alerts the driver and slams the brakes if a possible crash is detected. Also featured are blind spot display and active cornering lights, which are usually found in luxury vehicles.

Powertrains include a 2.0-litre engine with 155hp and 190Nm, as well as a 2.4-litre motor capable of pumping out 174hp and 225Nm. Both engines come with 5-speed automatic transmissions and are E85-compatible.

Suzuki, after scoring runaway success with its Swift sub-compact which qualifies for eco-car privileges, is strengthening its line-up with the Ertiga compact MPV and targeting sales of 6,000 vehicles per year. The Ertiga is based on the Swift and is powered by a 1.4-litre engine producing 95hp.

Also breaking into the recreational vehicle market is the Ford EcoSport, which is based on the Fiesta platform. It is powered by a 1.5-litre engine taken over from the Fiesta, and has seating capacity for five plus large a luggage area.

Another new member to the family vehicle market is the Chevrolet Spin, a seven-seater MPV with a first-in-class six speed automatic gearbox. Powering the Spin is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder DOHC (Double Overhead Camshafts), 16-valve with Dual-VVT (Dual Variable Valve Timing) gasoline engine capable of producing 107hp.

Nissan is spotlighting the Pulsar hatchback, which has just been introduced in Thailand. It is powered by a choice of new 1.8-litre and 1.6-litre engines, XTRONIC CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) offering smooth operation and improved fuel economy.

Other highlights on display include the Mazda CX-5 prototype, Volvo V40, Hyundai Veloster, Volkswagen Golf GTi, Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II, Porsche Cayman, Range Rover, Ssangyong Stavic, Peugeot 408 and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4.



Concept cars at the show

CHEVROLET CODE 130R

The Code 130R is a four-seat coupe with a simple upright profile. Code 130R features heritage performance-inspired styling and rear-wheel drive. With an aggressive front fascia, Chevrolet fender flares, straight body sides and the Chevy cross-flag emblem, Code 130R is a link to Chevrolet's performance heritage.

TRU 140S

The Tru 140S is a front-wheel-drive, "affordable exotic" four-seat sporty coupe. The three-door hatchback is designed to be an attractive-yet-affordable sports car. Shown in all-new matte paint with Chevy performance chrome wheels featuring the cross-flag emblem, the Tru 140S is designed to look confident, exotic, expensive and fast. It is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range.

TOYOTA FUN VII

The FUN Vii defines the future to ideally connect people, vehicle and society together through the interactive Internet. It aims to pioneer new experiences for drivers through interactive functions of high technology. The feature of the body is a screen of which its colours can be designed, a display of moving pictures, and personal messages customised. The colour in the passenger room can be adjusted in accordance with your emotion. The Fun Vii is powered by electronic energy that uses cordless charging technology. You can just go to a parking lot and the energy can be charged very quickly.

FCV-R

The FCV-R fuel cell sedan is powered by hydrogen and produces no CO2 emission - the energy can be produced from numerous sources and is easy to store and transport. The production model of the FCV-R will be launched in 2015 featuring a fuel cell bar, which is exclusively designed and equipped under the vehicle's body. It is equipped with a 70MPa hydrogen tank which is developed to offer a range of more than 700 kilometers. It has seating capacity for four and has a spacious trunk.

MITSUBISHI GR-HEV

The Mitsubishi GR-HEV is a concept for a sport utility truck (SUT) which delivers high environmental and driving performance using a FR3 diesel-hybrid system (under development) in a pickup truck.

Combining a high fuel-efficiency clean diesel engine with a high-output motor and battery, the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) system achieves on-road CO2 emission levels of below 149 g/km to give it class leading environmental performance. The concept also uses a next-generation 4WD system, which incorporates the Super Select 4WD honed in the Pajero series and Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics integrated control systems to deliver high stability traction and driving performance in all road conditions.

G4

The G4 is a concept model for a new compact sedan which Mitsubishi plans to roll out globally. The Concept G4 uses a high-clarity brilliantly cut diamond motif in the design of the front grill, headlamps and rear combination lamps to create a frontal visage with a commanding presence and a tail end which leaves a sharp impression as it drives off into the distance.

It achieves fuel efficiency that is among the best in its class as its RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body - the lightest in its class due to the extensive use of high-tensile steel - is powered by a lightweight and compact 1.2-litre MIVEC engine mated to a CVT with sub-gear train in addition to uncompromising weight reduction throughout.

Increased driving pleasure comes through improved driving dynamics stemming from its lighter weight as well as its reassuring handling/stability and comfortable ride. Passenger comfort is enhanced by the high hip point and large door openings, which facilitate entry and exit as well as by its generous rear seat leg space.

NISSAN ELLURE

The Ellure was first unveiled at the LA Auto Show in 2010. The exterior design resembles a sculpture that seems gentle but has a hint of provocativeness. Both sides of the vehicle are highlighted by large 90-degree-opening doors. Meanwhile, the "Geode" White tri-coat mica paint features pearlescent/gold flake with a blue aspect that varies in appearance by tone and temperature of light.

The interior design of the Ellure revolves around two feelings - tailored by day, intimate and inviting by night. The high-contrast, energised warmth of the space imparts an almost molten, thermal energy, which is also captured in the tri-colour scheme of "Molten Ice", "Molten Steel" and "Molten Gray".

The Ellure drivetrain is powered by a supercharged 2.5-litre inline 4-cylinder engine with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control (one motor/two clutch design with lithium-ion battery) and a 25kW electric motor matched with an Xtronic CVT and front-wheel drive. It also features independent suspension, regenerative braking and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering.

MERCEDES-BENZ CONCEPT STYLE COUPÉ

The four-door Concept Style Coupé is basically what you can expect from the Mercedes-Benz CLA, the four-door A-Class which will be introduced in Thailand later this year.

The Concept Style Coupé features a large panoramic roof, which creates a light and airy interior, and its tough, diamond-look grille, which follows through on design cues set by the Concept A-Class, and the bonnet which is set right into the front-end assembly for a sharp look.

A large carbon-fibre-trim panel spans its full width inside the car, giving it the elegance and distinctively "cool" appeal of a coupé. The instrument panel is upholstered in white Nubuck leather, providing an interesting contrast with the anthracite-coloured Alcantara used on the upper section of the instrument panel. Suede is used on the sports steering wheel to ensure better grip while the design of the air vents in the instrument panel resembles an aircraft jet engine.

The engine used in this Concept Style Coupé is the 2.0-litre version of the new direct injection petrol engine generation and dual turbo charge for 211hp, combined with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission.


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