Thursday March 24 was Press Preview Day at the Bangkok International Motor Show, and it was quite the event.
I arrived at Impact Muang Thong Thani, the venue for the show, about 9:30 a.m. Just before 10, the Grand Opening Ceremony began. Representatives from about 40 auto makers, 10 motorcycle manufacturers, various government agencies, and several embassies were individually introduced and each walked to his place on the main stage. The organizer of the show made a speech, which was translated into English afterward by the master of ceremony. After a spectacular light show, the organizer presented gifts to those on the main stage.
The rest of the day was filled with 15 minute presentations by each of the auto and motorcycle manufacturers. The presentations typically had a choreographed dance or acrobatic routine, followed by brief remarks by a senior person from the company, and then an unveiling of a new product or concept vehicle. The overall theme of the show is “Discovery A New Innovation” and Nissan highlighted its new 100% electric vehicle, the Leaf.
The Motor Show opened to the public on Friday and will run for 12 days. Over this period, 1.8 to 2.0 million people are expected to visit the show.
The Motor Show is a major sales opportunity for the automakers. Each automaker has a team of local sales and finance people at its exhibit space. The sales people wear sharp looking uniforms so they can be easily identified. The show is exhausting for the sales team — these people work 10 to 12 hour days throughout the show.
Theresa and I spent several hours on Sunday (March 27) at the show. Nissan won three car of the year awards from the show’s sponsors for the March, the Teana, and the 4×4 Navarra.
The show was crowded and music boomed throughout. There were electric car prototypes from Mitsubishi and Toyota, introductions of many new vehicles including the Honda Brio, an Eco car that will compete with Nissan’s March, and new pickup trucks from Ford (Ranger) and Chevrolet (Colorado.) There are large number of vehicles that are sold in both Thailand and the U.S. including Nissan’s Tiida (Versa in the U.S.) and Navarra (Frontier); Toyota’s Yaris, Altis (Corolla), and Camry; Honda’s Civic, Accord, and CR-V; Mazda’s MX-5 (Miata), Mazda3, and CX-9; Ford’s Focus and Escape; Chevy’s Aveo and Cruze; Hyundai’s Sonata and Tucson; and pretty much the full line-ups for both BMW and Mercedes.
There was a classic car dealer at the show who was displaying a number of beautifully restored cars, mostly convertibles, including a 1941 Cadillac, a 1964 Corvette Stingray, a 1959 Chrysler 300E, a 1955 BMW 502, a 1957 Mercedes 190SL, and a vintage Rolls Royce.
And, of course, no car show would be complete without a bevy of beautiful models showing the vehicles. In fact, not only are there models showing off the vehicles, but the Motor Show also crowns a Miss Motor Show as well as six runners-up. The competition is stiff, and the winners receive from 15,000 ThB to 100,000 ThB (US$500 to US$3,300.) If one were to judge simply by the number of pictures taken, the models were clearly more interesting to the crowd than were the cars and motorcycles. Here is a small sample.
If you’d like to see more pictures of the beauties — the models and the cars — please go to:
For many in the crowd, the models were clearly as interesting (if not more so) than the cars.
Kop Khun Krab.
© 2011 Kurt Brown. All rights reserved.