Updated (24/11/09): Running Footage Video added.
Regulars here will know that we don't do a lot of talking about premium cars. The fact is that if you are reading this blog, you probably don't have the cash to buy a BMW. But I feel compelled to write a little bit about the new styling direction taken by BMW with the new 7-series and now, the 5.
Simply put, BMW are officially making cool cars again. The pictures speak for themselves. This is a very nicely balanced design. Of course it's still going to be ridiculously expensive, and you'd be much better off buying a few houses, and a Jazz.
Tesla Motors are powering ahead with their Model S. The sedan is set for launch as a 2011 model and Tesla are trying to keep us interested, remind us that they are still around, and further heighten or expectations with this latest video.
For the most part it is the usual self-indulgent designer attempting to convince us that this is the greatest design ever. There are some interesting details in the video though and it's worth four minutes for anyone who is looking forward to a world that finally kisses the ICE goodbye. If the Model S is realised, then Tesla is looking set to drag the rest of the industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Enjoy the video.
Earlier I gave a brief look at some of the "highlights" from Toyota's floorspace at the 2009 Bangkok International Motor Show. Right across the aisle from Toyota is Honda who seemed more interested in some "Honda Pretty" competition thing, than they did their cars. Anyway that's the way of things at the Bangkok Motor Show, and to be fair Honda needed something to take the attention off the lack of new metal.
Nissan didn't wait for the Bangkok Motor Show to launch the all new Nissan Teana, it has been in Nissan showrooms across the country days ahead of the show. Although I haven't had a chance to drive the Teana yet, here are my first impression from sitting in the car and playing around with everything.
Although most automakers seem to be trying hard to keep a positive attitude in the face of a dramatic slow down in the industry, few are as optimistic as Hyundai Thailand. The company is eyeing 63% growth this year, and is already looking forward to introducing new cars.
Of course Hyundai can realise this 63% growth by achieving sales of just 1,500 units this year, compared to about 900 units in 2008. Hyundai's big seller is the H1, a people mover/VAN that offers good value for money despite coming into the country in CBU (completely built up) form. Hyundai will introduce a freshened up version of the H1, to be kitted out with some extra equipment, at the upcoming Bangkok Motor Show.
The situation for the global auto industry is looking increasingly bleak, and here in Thailand things are no different, with the industry posting sales figures for January that show a drop in sales of almost 30% when compared to January 2008.
Passenger car sales are down by about 10% which isn't actually all that bad. But commercial vehicle sales dipped almost 40% to just 18,558 units.
The replacement Nissan Teana is due very soon and more details are starting to appear. Some of these merely confirm earlier speculation (read previous article on 2009 Nissan Teana here.), but there are some interesting details that give us a clear indication that Nissan is attempting to raise the bar in the segment.
When Nissan introduced the Teana, it was a major departure from the styling of the car it replaced, the Cefiro. But more than simply redefine the face of the Japanese automakers flagship sedan, it also marked the start of a brand-wide style change.
In this article we take a look at the Chevrolet Volt and try to work out if it is really worth waiting for. Will it actually give the Prius a run for its money? Is it the way forward?
What is the Volt?
The Chevrolet Volt is GM's answer to the assault of the Toyota Prius. The Prius is the top selling hybrid car in the world. When the Volt project was announced, oil prices were climbing steadily higher, pushing more and more buyers away from the SUVs that GM had been enjoying so much success with in the preceding years.
GM finally woke up to the threat posed by a combination of high oil prices and the apparent surge in popularity of affordable hybrid cars. The company reacted in true American fashion, by setting their engineers a seemingly impossibly difficult task to complete in an impossibly small time frame. The Volt was that task.
GM/Holden is to take advantage of a Federal Government AUS$6 billion car plan, and build a four-cylinder car in Australia starting in 2010. The car is to be based on the Chevrolet Cruze, a global car that GM hopes will help to turn things around.
On paper the Proton Persona CNG is a winner. The specifications look good, and the price is very reasonable. The Persona undercuts rivals on price, while seemingly offering more. But this is all on paper.
This week I got behind the wheel of the Persona CNG, and would like to share my opinions after a short drive. I'm going to focus mainly on the ride quality, comfort, and performance in this article. Where applicable I'll also draw some comparisons to other cars in this segment.
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.
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 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.
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....
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.