6-year-old Thai girl sleeps through 6-hour car theft!

There is just so much in this story that is unbelievable, but paradoxically nothing in the story is surprising.

I'm not going to comment further, here is the link to the article.

YouTube blocked!

For those of you visiting this site from within Thailand, you might have noticed that there are large gaps in the text in some articles. These gaps are supposed to be home to embedded videos from YouTube, which are now missing due to the Thai government's decision to block YouTube.

bkkAutos.com visitors from outside Thailand should be unaffected, so we have chosen to leave the videos up for now. However, if the situation doesn't change, then we will find another way of providing the videos. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Thailand-Japan free-trade agreement, but will cars get cheaper?

This evening, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Surayud Chulanont are signing a free-trade agreement to lift more than 90% of the trade tariffs between Japan and Thailand.

Under the agreement Thailand will phase out its surcharges on Japan's iron and steel products over a 10 year period.

TestCar is sole MAHA representitive in Thailand

BANGKOK - TestCar Co., Ltd. is the first company in Thailand to Offer a state-of-the-art fully accredited computerized automotive inspection service at international standards. The company provides an independent, unbiased assessment of the vehicle system especially for the second hand car market.

The reliable and high standard provided by TestCar has enabled the company to now be the sole dealer for MAHA (Maschinenbau Haldenwang) from Germany. MAHA is represented in more than 130 countries worldwide and is recognized as one of the best manufacturer of testing and inspection equipment for automobiles and trucks. Products of the company are used by governments worldwide to inspect vehicles of any types. MAHA is certified by a majority of car manufacturers worldwide.

After running its own facility and adjusting all MAHA equipments for the Thai market, TestCar will start marketing and sales of MAHA equipments locally.

2007 Bangkok International Motor Show - Yawn


"Drive thru the nature." I still don't know what they mean. I was expecting to see a few alternative fuel vehicles, maybe a few hydrogen fuel cell demonstrations, but apart from a single Prius at the Toyota exhibit there was very little reason to believe that any of the automakers understood what the theme was supposed to be about.

After being disappointed with the lack of interesting (i.e. new) vehicles at last years Thailand Motor Expo, I had hopped that this year's "Motor Show" would offer more. So today I went to have a look.

We knew to expect at least two new vehicles, and they were there, but ....

Sales slump continues before Bangkok Show

The Thai auto industry will be pinning its hopes on a very successful Bangkok International Motor Show to kick-start sales.

This year started very poorly, with total sales in January falling below the 40k mark with just 38,648 units sold. This has been followed up by a similarly poor February with sales of just 43,605 units.

The poor sales cannot be explained away very easily since over all sales are down by over 27% compared to the same 2-month period last year, this despite aggressive marketing campaigns at the start of the year, and new model introductions.

Saving the planet saves you money

Recently there have been a spate of fuel price increases and decreases in Thailand. Invariably the change in price is announced the day before and takes effect at midnight. In cases where the price is to increase, this announcement will trigger a rush to the pumps to get the tank filled before the price goes up.

Have you ever got caught up in this mentality? Often the price change is something like 40 satang (0.40 baht), and at today's prices this would represent around a 1.6% change in the price of gas. So, for example, if a liter of fuel cost 25 baht today and is going to go up to 25.40 baht by tomorrow, your rush to the pumps to top up your tank with 40 liters of fuel will potentially save you 16 baht! But if you factor in that the trip to the pumps and back home, most of that advantage will likely be lost. Even if not, is 16 baht really worth the effort?

2008 Toyota Corolla Altis - detailed preview

2008 Altis

The Toyota Corolla is a legendary car. Since the introduction of the first car sporting the Corolla name in 1966, over 30 million units have been sold. Everybody who knows what a car is has heard of the name Corolla. If, like me, you live in Bangkok, or have visited the Thai capital, you have probably sat in one since the vast majority of Taxis in Bangkok are Corollas.

But while the Corolla has been synonymous with dependability, it has never been an exciting car. Toyota have played it safe with each successive generation of Corolla and while this has been a successful strategy, it seems that Toyota are keen to shake off the conservative image and the stigma that has begun to attach itself to the Corolla nameplate.

With the 10th generation Corolla due for a Thai release sometime this year, let's take the time to have a look at what we can expect from the 2008 Corolla Altis. How will it differ from the current model, and how well will it stack up against the Honda Civic?

Sales promotions from Honda aimed at keeping rivals in check

Honda have been experiencing a revival of sorts in Thailand, with 2006 seeing the company gain significant market share. The Honda Civic has been central to this, and is continuing to sell well. The Civic has the advantage of being a generation ahead of its rivals, and is technologically and visually ahead of the pack.

The CR-V is also selling well, despite being the ugliest SUV on the market, but it will see fresh competition from the Chevrolet Captiva which will be unveiled at the Bangkok International Motor Show at the end of the month.

2007 Bangkok International Motor Show theme

"Drive thru the nature." What is the first thing that enters your head as you read this? For me, and most others that I asked, it conjured up imagery of 4x4 vehicles careering through a forest with total disregard for the flora and fauna being displaced and destroyed. But insects splatted against a windshield, and small animals fleeing in terror, is not the intended direction this years Bangkok International Motor Show slogan is designed to take you.

Old Vios ad

While I was writing the last story about the brand new Toyota Vios, I hit upon this ad for the outgoing model and thought I'd share it. Enjoy:

3rd Gen Vios is here!

Well ahead of the Bangkok International Motor Show, Toyota have released the brand new 2007 Vios. Based on the Yaris, the Vios shares the same engine and underpinnings, but interior design is unique for the Vios having been designed in Japan, and the Yaris in Europe.

Still they are similar, with the instruments mounted in the center and similar functionality maintained. Personally I prefer the interior of the Yaris, and feel that the quality of the Yaris materials are a touch better. Still you can't fault this ad:

Well... other than the fact that they guy clearly breaks the speed limit near the end!

How important is safety to you? - Small cars

Over the next few weeks I plan to post a series of short articles focusing on safety. We'll take a look at groups of cars that are available on the Thai market. This time we'll have a look at the budget market.

Cheap and cheerful though they might be, are budget cars going to end up costing you an arm and a leg if you have an accident? Is there really much difference between the safety of a Yaris and Jazz? Let's try to find out.

Dept. of Land Transport wants to know where you've been

RFID tag

The Department of Land Transport plans to make it law for all vehicles in Thailand to have a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag embedded in the vehicle-tax sticker. In a cooperation with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Transport Ministry hopes to develop the RFID technology and deployment with a national RFID project trial this year.

The plan is to use Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID tags which would store information such as the car's registration identification, name of the owner and tax records. The RFID tag would be readable within a 10 meter range and can be read even with vehicles moving at 60 km/h.

2008 Nissan X-Trail breaks cover ahead of Geneva

2008 Nissan X-Trail

Nissan will be unveiling the brand new 2008 Nissan X-Trail at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show with eventual launches in Europe this summer and Japan sometime after that. Thailand might also expect the new 2008 X-Trail this year or next year since the current X-Trail is lagging far behind the Honda CR-V, and will soon face new competition from the Chevrolet Captiva which should be launched at the Bangkok International Motor Show at the end of the month.

The all-new Nissan X-Trail is a strange update, in that on first glance you might easily mistake it for the outgoing model. On closer attention the changes are obvious and - according to Nissan - everything is new and improved.

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