According to study results issued by JD Power Asia Pacific, the quality of new cars manufactured in Thailand has risen for the third year running.
Thailand Initial Quality Study 2006, asked 3,413 owners to rate the quality of new vehicles they purchased between January and July. The study measures 135 problem areas within 9 major categories: ride, handling and braking; features and controls; seats; heating, ventilation and cooling; sound system; vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; engine; and transmission.
The performance for vehicles is then rated in terms of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with lower scores indicating higher quality levels.
If you have been following the Thai automotive scene over the last decade or so you will be aware of the rapid growth of the industry. Aspirations to become the "Detroit of Asia" is the obsessive driving force behind the Thai auto industry, and the term has been flashed around so regularly by policy makers and the media in Thailand that I'm starting to ignore it completely.
The auto manufacturing industry is very important to Thailand, and the goal is to become one of the top-10 auto manufacturers in the world by 2010. But is this possible for a nation that only seems to know how to make pickup trucks?
Over a year ago Indian auto company Tata Motors had a flirt with Thai Rung Union Car Plc, but it resulted in a dead end. Now it seems that Tata have found a new partner to assist them in entering the Thai market.
Tata will have a very tough time breaking into the Thai market, primarily because they have chosen the most competitive segment of the market to attack... the 1 ton pickup truck market!
They better have something better than this planned for the Thai market. The TL is powered by a 2 liter turbo diesel, and apparently has such advanced features as "Headlamps", "Power steering", and "Ventilation". Apparently it is a class leading package in India.
Daimler Chrysler (Thailand) is launching a new irresistible Star Choice campaign to shake up the luxury car market with low down payment and incredibly small installments for every C-Class and E-Class Mercedes Benz until 28th of December this year.
Mr. Wolfgang Erhard Huppenbauer, President & CEO, said, "Both C-Class and E-Class are most welcomed by Thai consumers and they reflect Mercedes Benz's success as a leader of the luxury car section in the market."
"To satisfy the needs of people who want to own this high performance automobile and to show gratitude for all the support we have, we are launching Star Choice campaign, which allows the lowest installments ever!"
Chevrolet has announced an extension of its warranty duration by an additional 2 years, or an additional 100,000km, which ever comes first. This effectively means that all new Chevrolet models in Thailand come with the peace-of-mind of a 5-year, 200,000km warranty.
The program is called "Chevrolet Platinum Warranty" and will be introduced to the entire Chevrolet network throughout Thailand.
Mr. John Thomson, Sales and Marketing Vice President for Chevrolet Sales (Thailand) Co., Ltd., expects to finish out 2006 with a total of 35,000 unit sales in Thailand, consisting of 25,000 Colorados, 6,000 Optras and 4,000 Aveos.
Last Thursday I popped up a bunch of photos from this year's Motor Expo. Although I remarked that the show was a bit disappointing, I do want to point out that I'm a car fanatic, and I still enjoyed being able to feast my eyes on some of the most beautiful cars around.
As a follow up to last weeks coverage of the show, I have a second installment of photos to offer. If you still haven't visited the Expo, then you still have a few more days to venture down to Impact, and perhaps these photos will influence you in that direction.
The new BMW styling might not be to everyones taste, certainly not mine, but apparently Thais with money to spend on luxury cars are more than happy with the German outfit's current generation of cars.
According to recent figures BMW enjoyed sales of about 2,200 cars in the first 10 months of 2006, an increase of 23%!
This increase would be a compelling enough argument for the popularity of the direction BMW have taken with their bold new corporate image, but when you factor in the 10% decline in sales experienced by the luxury car market in the same period, even folks like me have to concede that BMW must be doing something right.
The Thailand International Motor Expo 2006 kicks off tomorrow but I managed to sneak into today's press and VIP day. Although I went with very low expectations, remembering last year, I was still disappointed with the Expo, and now I'm looking forward now to the Bangkok International Motor Show 2007.
For now I have just uploaded some images from the Expo, and over the next few days I'll add more, and update them with some comments and observations.
According to this story from The Nation, Mazda plans to bring production of the Demio to Thailand. According to the article production will not start until 2009. By then Honda should already have the new Jazz.
The Demio is known as the Mazda 2 in some markets, and will probably use that name here to fit in below the 3. The Mazda Demio platform will be updated next year and will also form the basis for a Ford small car, in a reverse of the current arrangement whereby the Focus shares its underpinnings with the Mazda 3.
The new factory should produce 200,000 units a year, a welcome boost to Thailand's "Detroit of Asia" ambitions.
October was a bad month for the Thai automobile industry with sales of only 51,390, down by 10.5% on sales in October 2005.
Despite the drop in overall sales, passenger car sales were actually up, finding growth of 13.7% from sales of 14,860 for the month. But the Thai automotive industry owes it's success almost entirely to the sales of 1-ton-pickup trucks, and this is where the big losses were. A mere 33,484 units were sold in October, which is down by over 18%.
Yesterday we started to take a look at Toyota, and make suggestions about cars that we'd like to see at the Motor Expo. Now, I know that there is little or no hope of Toyota bringing any of these vehicles to Thailand, but surely there would be a market for some interesting cars here. Often car makers make claim to understand the market here, claiming that they know what Thai motorists want.
While this may be so, did anybody ask them if they want the FJ Cruiser? No? I didn't think so.
Toyota Motor Corp and Isuzu Motors Ltd have jointly announced a signed memorandum of understanding, which will kick off a study into the possibility of future business collaboration.
For the most part this potential collaboration is likely to be focused on research & development and the production of diesel engines, joint R&D of emission-control technologies and devices (again for diesel engines), and environmental technologies including the use of alternative fuels.
Continuing our look at cars that are unlikely to be at the Thailand International Motor Expo, but that we'd like to see there all the same, it's time to take a look a the Toyota Auris.
Toyota are the biggest selling auto maker in Thailand. Their range of cars is large too, with no less than twelve models in the lineup. Surely there's something for everyone in that lot? That might be the case, but it would help make the Motor Expo interesting if Toyota brought one of these along:
UMW Holdings Bhd, a company that exports Toyota Hiace vans from Malaysia to Thailand, is worried at a devision by the Thai government to maintain import duties of 20% on vehicles built in Malaysia.
UMW argues that a rate of 5% should apply in accordance with the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT). The CEPT limits tariffs to a rate of 5% (or lower) on goods that have a ASEAN content of 40% or more, and this is the case for the Malaysian built Hiace.
Today we are going to continue this series with a look at Honda. Honda used the 2005 Thailand International Motor Expo to showcase the current Honda Civic and there is reason to believe that the 2007 Honda CR-V will make its Thai debut at this years show, but let's have some fun and imagine what would happen if Honda brought some interesting cars with them to the 2006 Expo.