There really are several kinds of auto shows.
There are auto shows that can range from a local gathering of enthusiasts or even a larger auto show type event involving aftermarket stores or businesses. There are also big auto shows that involve big industry players like you will find in Detroit, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt or Tokyo. These Big Five auto shows are exhibition type trade events where you would typically see the debuts of futuristic concept cars or brand new global models.
There is, however, a huge gap between the two. And that’s where you’ll find something like the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS), the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), or the one we visited recently: the Thailand International Motor Expo just outside of Bangkok.
Auto shows and exhibitions in Thailand are unique in the global auto show circuit as they “sell shows” versus purely on display events such as the Big Five. The UFI-approved Thailand International Motor Expo is now in its 36th year and is proud to contribute significantly to the country’s auto sales volume to the tune of over THB 50 billion (approximately THB 1.65 billion). dollars). One lucky car buyer among the estimated 50,000 customers will even have a chance to win a brand new Mini Countryman.
This year’s Motor Expo saw virtually no concept cars, at least for the futuristic type. Automakers have decided to sell hard this year by presenting their latest offerings to car buyers. They practically pledged to support sales to end the year on a positive note despite a slowdown in the third quarter of 2019.
With some of the new models launching a few weeks or days before the show, potential buyers would have had ample time to prepare and have their checkbooks ready.
Headlining this year’s event are small cars such as the Honda City which debuted on November 25. The new City has a newly defined look and comes with a variety of improvements over previous generations, such as a 1.0-liter VTEC Turbo engine.
Mitsubishi introduced the revised Mirage and Attrage; the latter being the Thai name of the model we call the Mirage G4. While there haven’t been any major mechanical changes, these new Mitsubishi now have the signature Dynamic Shield look, albeit in an eco-car package.
Nissan was also in force with the Almera as they looked to replace the model they had been selling for most of this decade. All of these models were launched recently and represent a major overhaul of the hotly contested “green car” segment.
But pickup trucks will forever be the major force in the Thai automobile industry. Thailand actually manufactures almost all models for the ASEAN market as well as for several markets around the world.
The major public launch of the show was certainly the all-new 2020 Isuzu D-Max pickup. The new model sports a very defined look, a long list of technical and technological improvements and better capabilities.
Chevrolet, Ford, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota don’t want to be left out with special editions and variations of their respective pickup offerings.
Some car manufacturers have also chosen the event as a platform to launch new products like the Porsche Cayenne Coupé, the BMW X3 M and the Volvo V60.
Organizers said this year’s event spans more than 100,000 square meters of exhibits for 34 auto brands, 26 motorcycle brands, numerous accessories companies and motorsport-related exhibitions.
Organizers hope to attract a total of 1.6 million visitors to this year’s event. Part of their intensive promotional campaign includes convenience improvements for visitors, such as shuttles from major transportation hubs and digital tickets with QR codes. Visitors to the show will also have the chance to win an MG 3 hatchback by simply purchasing an entrance ticket to the event. Visitors who download the Motor Expo app will also have the chance to win a Samsung Note 10.
To occupy the youngest, they have also created a space with activities adapted for children and introduced interactive features using digital technology. Much like the Los Angeles Auto Show we attended recently, we were very relieved to see so many cars on display.
Auto accessories, detailing and lifestyle items are also sold in the salon. To encourage visitors to buy more, a Suzuki Celerio is raffled off for those who buy at least 3,000 baht of merchandise.
But perhaps the most significant indicator of Thailand International Motor Expo is that it shows us what are the next attractions in the Philippine market. The successor to the Honda City and the Nissan Almera is very significant, as well as the new design of the Mitsubishi Mirage models. We are also looking forward to seeing the D-Max on the roads of the Philippines as it represents a remarkable improvement over the current model in our market.
The Thailand International Motor Expo takes place until December 10 at the Impact Challenger in Muang Thong Thani.