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Motor Show expected to spur flagging vehicle sales

Automakers get ready to launch a host of exciting new models at major Bangkok event next week

While auto sales during the first two months of the year went downhill by as much as 45 per cent to just 140,000 vehicles, the upcoming Bangkok International Motor Show is expected to drive purchases back up as auto buyers are expected to flock to the venue in search of the best deals.

The event, scheduled from March 26 to April 6 at the Challenger Hall, Muangthong Thani, features 29 automobile and nine motorcycle brands, as well as seven car audio and 80 accessory exhibitors. The event is considered the official start to the auto-buying season. Last year more than 40,000 orders were placed at the show, which attracted 1.7 million visitors.

Show organiser Prachin Eamlumnow, chairman of Grand Prix Group, said the large number of new models launched before the show and at the show will significantly help spur auto sales.

"We cannot deny the fact that the current political situation has affected the economy in general and consequently the automobile market," he said. "However, there is a positive sign for an upward market trend, plus a large number of new car models have been launched since the beginning of the 2014. There will be a lot of interesting and extraordinary offers provided during the show from each brand including several official launches of new car models."

One of the hottest cars at this year's show is the new Mazda3 that features absolute SkyActiv technology boasting outstanding performance, better fuel economy and low emissions.

Market leaders Toyota and Honda will capitalise on recently launched models such as the new Corolla Altis and the latest City to bag orders. Last year Toyota was the top seller at the show, zooming off with more than 10,000 orders, while Honda sped to second place with over 7,000 orders.

Ford's highlight will be the EcoSport sub-compact urban SUV, which is expected to draw a large number of orders for the American automaker.

Suzuki, highly successful with the Swift, is expanding its line-up with the introduction of the production version of the A-Wind concept previously shown.

Nissan, meanwhile, is entering a new market segment with the Livina MPV, and will launch a turbocharged version of the Pulsar compact hatchback.

Korean automaker Hyundai will highlight the Grand Starex MPV as well as an i40 large family car that it could market in the future.

Chevrolet will introduce a minor-change version of its Captiva sport-ute while Subaru aims to bring out the new Impreza WRX STi.

Chinese-owned British marque MG has just launched its first vehicle for Thailand, the MG6 Turbo, which will test the market as it enters the Bangkok Motor Show battleground.

In the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz will stage the Asean launch of two models - the new C-Class and the GLA Class. The new C-Class is larger, faster and more economical while the GLA is based on the A-Class platform and is the smallest SUV Mercedes has ever made.

BMW will launch the 2 series as well as the 4 Series convertible, while Mini will present the new F56 model change in Cooper and Cooper S variants.

Swedish automaker Volvo will introduce two new models - the S60 T5 and XC60 T5. Both are powered by the new Drive-E 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine pumping out 220hp and 350Nm mated to an 8-speed auto gearbox.

Lexus will come out with the new ES 300h hybrid-powered luxury sedan, while Porsche is going to launch its latest SUV, the Macan.

Rolls-Royce will showcase the Ghost Majestic Horse Collection, which is a special edition bespoke model made for Asian markets. Only 35 of these cars will be built, and this will be its first unveiling in Asean.

Non-production highlights will include the BMW i8 plugin, Ford Everest concept, the Suzuki Swift Limited Edition, the Mitsubisihi Outlander PHEV Asia Cross Country Rally Car and the Toyota FV2.


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