Biofuel Production in Thailand

Planet Ark has an interesting article on biofuel production in Thailand.

Bill Buys a New Car - Part 1

You go shopping for something that you are completely neutral about. You don't love or loath it, it's just something that you need that will serve a purpose. Let's say it's a household appliance, like a fridge, or better still a washing machine. When you go shopping for this item what are the important things for you that help you make a decision? Probably the considerations will include:

  • Price
  • Running costs
  • Capacity
  • Function/Design

For the most part we use our heads to make these sort of decisions. Our heart and soul don't get a say at all, and we buy the product that best meets our requirements. Okay, there will be other factors that might affect our decision, like brand loyalty, color, or "lifestyle choices" (whatever that means).

Ford to Make Thailand "Central Hub for ASEAN"

Yet more good news for Thailand's auto sector as Ford announce their plans for growth in the Asian market, and the key role that Thailand will play in their strategy. During a press conference in Thailand Bill Ford Jr., chairman and CEO of America's second-largest auto company stated: "We see that Asia is our next market as all the regions are opening up, and we plan to make Thailand our central hub for ASEAN."

Peugeot to Manufacture in Thailand

More good news for Thailand and it's quest to become the "Detroit of Asia". I'm not so sure this is such a lofty goal anyway, but it is the term (over)used to describe the Thai auto industry.

One reason for Thailand's success in the auto industry is excise duties! To put it bluntly if you wish to be competitive in Thailand you need to assemble your cars in Thailand to benefit from lower excise duties. Of course lower land prices, cheap labour costs, and other factors come into the equation, but excise rates are obviously designed to "encourage" manufacturers to build in Thailand.

Honda to Invest US$58.8 million in Thai R&D Unit

Last week there were rumors that Honda might build Hybrid-technology-powered vehicles in Thailand. Honda has now confirmed the confidence they have in Thailand by committing a further 2.4 billion baht investment here.

Honda is to open an R&D unit in Thailand, creating 120 jobs and increasing their presence in the country. The facility will be responsible for the design and development of auto parts, and vehicles for the Asian, Australian and Indian market.

Will 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid be Built in Thailand?

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, Small

According to an article in today's Bangkok Post, Honda may be considering building the new 2006 Civic Hybrid here in Thailand. The article (see below) suggests that a Civic Hybrid built in Thailand would benefit from 30% excise rates, rather than the 80% applied to the current Hybrid. And suggests that the price would be around 1.5 million baht as a result.

My maths tells me that it should be around 1.3 million if you simply apply the new excise rate, so perhaps the new Civic will cost more to begin with. 1.3, 1.5 ... it probably makes no difference anyway. Anything over 1 million baht and Thai buyers will start looking at Fortuners, Accords and Camrys in preference. If this car could be priced at or below 1 million, and marketed as at the high end of the mid-sized market, competing with 1.8 liter and even 2.0 liter models, then it might stand a chance of selling in some numbers.

C4 Explodes onto Thai Market

C4 3-door

One of the things I noticed first about Thai roads after I recovered my senses during the first cab ride from the Airport, was the lack of hatchbacks. At first I assumed this was due to market forces and assumed that the market simply didn't want hatchbacks at all. There are a few exceptions such as the old Honda Civic Hatch, but by and large hatchbacks have never been popular here, as they have been in the UK and Europe.

But now the Honda Jazz bucked the trend and shown that, if priced competitively, the hatch can be a popular choice. Perhaps now the way has been paved for the hatch to take a footing in the Thai market.

Jussi Valimaki wins Rally of Thailand, best Thai placed 8th

The Rally of Thailand was dominated by Finn, Jussi Valimaki.

Suphot Kasikham came home in eighth to be the highest placed Thai. Suphot was lucky to finish after his Impreza's rear brakes failed and then its gearbox got stuck in fourth gear on the penultimate stage.

Toyota recalls 1.4 million cars!

1.41million Toyota cars are being recalled because of a headlight fault.

The recall affects 16 models built between May 2000 and August 2002 and will reportedly cost Toyota £73m.

It is recalling 1.27 million models in Japan, as well as cars exported to Australia, Singapore and Thailand.

The recall was announced by Japan's Transport Ministry, which said no injuries or accidents had been attributed to the defect.

Source: BBC

Proposed 50k New Car Tax

I just picked up a copy of "Automotive - Grand Prix International" and read a headline "Auto makers against extra Bt50,000 tax."

Of course they are against this ill-conceived proposal by Transport Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal. His plan is simple, I'll give it that. Basically it would mean that 50,000 baht would be added to all new automobile purchases, resulting in a big pile of extra cash for the government, cash which would be "channeled into a special fund which will be used to finance road construction in the needy provinces throughout Thailand", according to Grand Prix International.

Ford Focus Pricing - Thai Government changes excise rate

When Ford designed the Focus for the Thai market it had a clever plan in mind. Thailand announced a scheme, whereby cars capable of running on E20 fuel, gasohol with a mix of 80% petrol and 20% ethanol, would be eligible for a reduced excise rate of 20%. Since the standard rate is 30% Ford's strategy should have afforded them a price advantage over rivals.

Inside the new Honda Civic

Civic dials

Recently the compact sedan segment has started to hot up in Thailand after going through a particularly boring spell. The Mazda 3 and Ford Focus are helping to liven things up a bit, offering youthful styling and hatchback versions. Although the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are big sellers they are starting to appear dated.

Honda is soon to release the all-new 2006 Civic to the Thai market, and judging by these photos it's a big improvement over the current model, on the inside at least!

Enjoying Your New Car Smell? Or choking on it?

Update: You can now visit www.Healthy to find out which cars are the best and which are the worst for internal toxins. The cars tested are American models, but many of them are available here, although we cannot assume that the manufacturing processes here are the same.

Ever sat in a new car and thought to yourself "hmmm... what a lovely smell"? Ever wondered what causes it? Every wondered if it was bad for your health? Let's explore these questions. We hope that perhaps it will encourage some thought and we will also offer some advise on avoiding the harmful effects. Read on.

Facelift for Honda Accord on the way?

2006 Accord

Honda's City and Toyota's Soluna Vios have been updated with minor revisions recently. The Honda CR-V has also seen a minor update lately, and it seems likely that the Accord is soon to get the minor-revision treatment as the current model is well past mid-life.

There are two versions of the Honda Accord Sedan one available in America and Asia, and the European version (known outside Europe as the Accord Euro, and also available in Japan). Thailand shares the American body style for the Accord, so it's likely that any updates to the US version will find their way to Thailand as a result.

Updated Toyota Soluna Vios (and a new funny quote from Toyota!)

Toyota has released an updated Vios. As the Soluna page on the "e-TOYOTACLUB Thailand" website says: "TOYOTA introduces new "Soluna Vios" the sport sedan with abreast of the time for more convenience lifestlye." That's lovely, I'm sure! Oh, and although that page is in "English" the downloadable brochure is in Thai. But the pictures are nice!

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