July 19, 2013 00:00 By Kingsley Wijayasinha
Despite a drop in demand with the First Car scheme ending, auto-makers hope to sell 100,000 vehicles each month
While the auto-buying spree caused by the First Car Buyer Programme has finally ended, automobile companies are planning to keep sales rolling at about 100,000 vehicles per month.
According to Toyota Motor Thailand, the largest auto company in the country, a record 740,795 vehicles were sold during the first half of this year, posting a 22-per-cent growth over the same period in 2012.
However, most of the growth was a result of the First Car scheme, and as vehicles were delivered, the market started to show signs of slowing down since May, TMT president Kyoichi Tanada pointed out.
While auto companies are expected to compete fiercely during the remaining part of the year, many have already started aggressive marketing moves, such as taking part in medium-sized commercial auto shows and offering special sales promotions in order to woo customers.
In fact, there are two shows being held this weekend in Bangkok – the Fast Auto Show Thailand 2013 at Bitec Bang Na and the 5th Bangkok Imported Car & Used Car Show at Muangthong Thani.
Apart from used cars, major auto-makers are setting up booths at the Fast Auto Show, which is organized by famous auto critic Pattanadesh Asasappakij and Chalatchai Paphatphong, the organiser of the Thailand International Motor Expo.
They include Chevrolet, Citroen, Deva, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Sammitr Green Power, Skoda, Subaru, Toyota, Suzuki and DFSK. There are also 10 major used car dealers taking part.
“Although the auto market is expected to slow down and consumers are becoming more careful with spending, there are also a large number of mini motor shows and similar events being held during this period,” Pattanadesh said. “But the Fast Auto Show will attract visitors with the special sales campaigns and special promotions for both new and used car buyers.”
He expects 4,000 orders to be placed for new vehicles at the show and another 2,000 for used vehicles. The five-day event is expected to draw 400,000 people.
“We believe the event will create a good business environment for the auto market during the mid-year period,” Pattanadesh said. “We want buyers and sellers to come to an agreement quickly, with both parties being satisfied. Apart from displaying new and used cars, we also have a central area for sales promotion activities and a test-drive course located nearby. All used cars are fully inspected by used-car experts,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Imported Car & Used Car Show, which starts today and goes on until July 28 at Challenger Halls 2-3, Muangthong Thani, is organised by Grand Prix International, the organiser of the Bangkok International Motor Show.
The highlights of the show include a large collection of imported vehicles that are 100-per-cent legitimate, according to organiser Jaturont Komolmis.
“Every vehicle at the show has been fully inspected for quality and gone through all taxation formalities so customers can be assured that there will be no problem after the purchase,” he said.
Apart from major imported car dealers, even distributor Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) is taking part, highlighting its new E-Class Coupe that was launched earlier this month.
Rolls-Royce is also present with its first used car programme in Thailand called “Pre-Owned Provenance Programme”.
While the men go car shopping, the women can take time to visit the “Luxury Used Brand Grand Sale” corner that offers brand products from celebrities at special prices. All proceedings would be donated to charity.
Meanwhile, Mini Thailand will hold a Mini Cooper parade to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday by having a parade of 827 Mini cars to create a “Long Live The Queen” formation near the Muangthong Thani lake. This parade is expected to create a record of the largest number of Mini cars gathering at one place and will be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Subaru’s highlight at the Fast Auto Show is the all-new Forester crossover that is targeted at customers who need more than what the compact XV crossover can offer.
The 4th-generation Forester features a 2.0-litre engine with DIT (Direct Inject Turbo), an 8-speed Lineartronic gearbox, an X-Mode drive system as well as a Si-Drive function.
The turbocharged boxer engine pumps out a healthy 240hp and 350Nm, while average fuel consumption is claimed to be 11.8km per litre.
The Forester is priced at Bt1.89 million for the 2.0 IL and Bt2.42 million for the 2.0 XT.