Global Economic Crisis Killing Motor Sport

Recently the "Global Economic Melt Down", "financial crisis", or whatever you want to call it, has been taking its toll on the motor industry. While some automakers are attempting to seek government support to stay alive, all automakers are scrambling to find ways to cut costs and save money.

Subaru Impreza WRC Concept Image

Unfortunately for fans of motor sport, this means less money is being directed towards motor racing. Honda's decision to withdraw from F1 set the scene. Up until then, much of the focus was on GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Honda's reason was simple: money.

2008 Thai Motor Expo Sales Numbers

Sales at this years Thai Motor Expo were actually pretty reasonable considering the current political and economic difficulties that Thailand is facing. Approximately 14,000 cars were ordered at the Expo which was attended by around 1.5 million visitors.

There are no surprises at the top of the sales table, with Toyota and Honda leading the pack with 4,193 and 2,552 bookings respectively. Business as usual really! Third place went to Isuzu with 1,760, which might seem like a big gap until you remember that they only sell trucks and truck derived SUVs.

Honda Looks to New Markets as Japan and Australia Slow

Honda believes that there is strong demand for Thai cars on the export market, despite the recent global slump in sales that has left the US Auto industry looking very fragile.

Honda Automobiles (Thailand) Co. Ltd., has seen export orders drop of 10 percent, due mostly to a decrease in demand from Japan and Australia. But, Honda still thinks that there are plenty of buyers out there for both completely built-up (CBU) cars, as well as for kits for assembly in the world market.

Toyota Seeking Special Privileges from Thai government

Toyota Motor Thailand is currently lobbying the Thai government, seeking a lifting of import duty for CKD parts to be used in the assembly of hybrid vehicles in Thailand.

Camry Hybrid Image

This actually comes as little surprise, since Toyota are to start assembly of the Camry Hybrid next year. Toyota are seeking to have the 30-40% duties removed, to allow them to price the Camry Hybrid under THB 2 million.

Proton Persona - CNG on a Budget

Proton are continuing their assault on the Thai market with the Persona CNG. The Persona enters a very very tough segment, with existing models have very commanding positions. We can't go far here without comparisons to the almost bulletproof Vios and the equally solid City, and this is what the Persona faces.

Proton Persona CNG Image

So does it stand a chance? Who is going to buy a Malaysian Proton, ahead of locally assembled and safe options like the Toyota and Honda. Read on to find out....

Proton Gen 2 CNG Speeding

I was researching for a Proton related story when I stumbled upon this video that I would like to share.

The video that follows is one of a guy speeding in a Gen 2 on a Thai highway. He tops out just short of 180 km/h. Why am I putting this video up? Well we all know that a Gen 2 can go at 180 km/h, so it's not about that. And it's not because he crashes at the end either.

Geely CK Enters Small Sedan Fight

The Chinese made Geely (JEE-lee) CK has made its way to Thailand via the Yontrakit group, the Thai import company that has traditionally brought in luxury and premium models. Recently, the company has switched to bargain basement offerings like the Naza Forza, and now the Geely CK.

The Geely CK aims to offer a low-cost alternative to the Toyota Vios and Honda City. Although this might look like a credible option at first glance, the reality is that this car should not be on the road at all, and I believe that Yontrakit are going to regret the decision to bring it to Thailand.

2009 Nissan Teana in the Wild in Thailand

The Nissan Teana is due to be updated for 2009 and we recently posted a brief article about it. Now, the 2009 Nissan Teana has been spotted and photographed in Thailand.

Nissan Teana Image

Ford Ranger - 2 Star Euro NCAP

Thai-built pickup trucks continue to take a beating in the Euro NCAP. The Ford Ranger was the latest to be subjected to NCAP safety tests in Europe, and the restuts are not pretty.

Ford Ranger Image

GM Suspends Thailand Operations

General Motors Thailand will temporally suspend operations in Thailand for December and the first three weeks of January due to a slump in demand. GM, the worlds largest automaker recently begged for a government bailout package in the US as it suffers from the effects of the global financial crisis.

The shutdown in Thailand obviously won't improve matters, with some 2,000 employees sitting at home yet still being paid 75% of their salaries.

2010 Mazda3 Hatchback Images

Official images of the 2010 Mazda3 Hatchback have surfaced, and they have been met with mixed reactions. The front end is much the same as the 4-door Mazda3 Sedan that was shown first. So it looks like Randall from Monsters Inc.

Mazda3 Image

Ford Fiesta Sedan to Bring Fight to Vios/City

The Ford Fiesta is still some way from a Thai release, but images of the production Fiesta Sedan have already started to surface.

Ford Fiesta Sedan

New Ford Focus TDCi Now Automatic

Ford Focus Image

Ford has increased the appeal of the diesel version of the Focus by adding an automatic transmission to the mix. Previously only available with a 6-speed manual, the Focus 2.0 TDCi was never likely to win too many friends, despite this being an excellent combination in practical terms.

And the better news is that Ford has put a "PowerShift" semi-automitic transmission in the Focus, with a dual-clutch system and offering 6 speeds. This has some advantages over a conventional automatic transmission based on a torque converter. Most notably it is significantly more efficient, and will allow the Focus to return just a touch over 17 km/l.

Ford has also made some cosmetic changes to the Focus, bringing a fresh look to the ageing line up. The Focus update is quite substantial, with a completely new front end.

Read on for the full details on the car:

Honda Quietly Launches 2009 Honda Civic

2009 Honda Civic Image

Coming so soon after the launch of the much hyped Honda City, the 2009 Honda Civic facelift slipped in a week ago and there has been very little said.

Of course that could have something to do with the fact that you would be hard pushed to notice the difference between the updated 2009 Civic, and the model it has replaced.

Read on to find out what has changed.

2010 Mazda3 Still Years Away?

Images of the 2010 Mazda3 sedan surfaced a few weeks back. They show a car that is heavily infulenced by its big brother, the 6, while still managing to retain a sporty and youthful appearence.

2010 Mazda3 Image

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