Motor show expected to propel slowing auto market

Auto & Audio November 14, 2014 01:00

By The Nation

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Annual event likely to see 1.5 million visitors and witness Bt54 billion in sales



Despite Thailand’s automobile market having to plough through a series of nasty road humps, as much as Bt54 billion is expected to be generated in sales during the upcoming 31st Thailand International Motor Expo. 
Kwanchai Paphatphong, the organiser of the event which takes place at the Challenger Hall in Muangthong Thani from November 29-December 10, says as many as 40 automobile brands from 13 countries will be present, along with 11 motorcycle brands at the year’s last auto exhibition and sales extravaganza. 
The Motor Expo marks the final buying season of the year, with auto companies tripping over one another to offer attractive sales promotions and launch swanky new models. 
“The highlight that should not be missed is the global premiere of an all-new model,” Kwanchai said.
Japanese automaker Mazda is planning to unveil the sedan version of the new Mazda2 at this year’s show, according to industry insiders. The new Mazda2, powered by a 1.5-litre Skyactiv diesel engine, is the first model to be made under the government’s Eco-Car Phase 2 project. This latest Mazda will be officially launched early next year, although pre-orders will be accepted at the Motor Expo, Mazda Sales Thailand executives said.
Other models expected to gain strong interest from buyers are the Honda HR-V, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Triton. 
Kwanchai said that this year 1.5 million people (up from last year’s 1.38 million) are expected to visit the expo, while auto sales will peak at 50,000 vehicles (up from 41,000 in 2013). 
Thailand’s auto market has been hit hard this year by the political situation, a slowing economy and strict loan approvals by finance companies. Sales from January to September dived off the cliff by more than 37 per cent to 648,410 vehicles, and many expect the year to end at slightly over 900,000 vehicles. 
The car market this year has slowed by as much as 45 per cent to just 273,000, while the commercial vehicle market has fallen by 30 per cent to 309,034.