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Bangkok Motor Show: "Kingdom of the Pickups" - the offroad fair in Thailand.

From Laszlo Gog Bangkok International Motor Show is the only OICA (Organisation International des Constructeur’s d’Automobiles) approved motor show in South East Asia. This year’s show was the biggest ever event, the presence of 79 car and 119 accessories companies boasted 1.8 million visitors during the twelve days.

After 13 years the Bangkok International Motor Show in 2011 has been relocated to the Challenger Hall, Impact, which with its 60,000 sqare meters is currently the world’s largest column free hall. This year’s show was the biggest ever due to the larger space and the exceptional growth in the Thai automobile and motorcycle industry, which peaked at over 1.6 million vehicles in 2010, from which 900.000 units were exported. For this year the overall industry’s production target is 1.8 million units - 800.000 for domestic sales and one million for export.

Thailand’s automotive industry is a strong and reliable pillar industry of the country, known also as the "Detroit of Asia". In 1962 there was only one automobile assembly plant, and now Thailand is a world-class production hub currently ranking 13th globally. Almost all major automotive companies (Ford, GM, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Isuzu and Tata) have established assembly factories in Thailand.

Besides remarkable passenger car production, Thailand boasts a world’s number 1 status in the 1-ton pickup trucks segment. So it's not suprising at all that visitors followed the launch of small trucks with special interest. One of the world premieres held here was the unveiling of the Chevrolet Colorado Show Truck. Its basic proportions and form previews the next-generation Colorado pickup truck, which will go on sale in Thailand later this year.

"Thailand is the world’s largest market for midsize pickups, so this is the perfect location to unveil our new Colorado," said Mr. Martin Apfel, president, GM Thailand/Southeast Asia and Chevrolet Sales. While the new Colorado was developed within GM’s global product development organization, engineers took careful steps to ensure it would meet local market needs in Southeast Asia.

The show truck features an extended-cab body atop a high-ride all-wheel-drive chassis and comes with large, 20-inch wheels and off-road tires. Power is derived from an efficient 2.8L turbo-diesel engine, which produces a broad torque band for excellent cargo and towing capability, in addition to enhancing drivability and fuel efficiency.

The interior is designed to deliver a premium and inviting environment, with a greater feeling of spaciousness than is typically found in midsize trucks. Contrasting trim used with the light-colored leather seating, dark wood trim accented with chrome and low-gloss and soft-touch materials are used throughout for a premium feel. A number of storage compartments are located throughout the interior, including a covered center bin for concealment of valuable items, and a large, dual glovebox.

Additional features include a dual-zone, digital climate control system and the latest in "infotainment" technology. The show truck highlights an ergonomically positioned 7-inch LCD display in the center stack, for easy viewing and intuitive control of Web access, navigation, music and hands-free phone features.

Beside the latest pick-up show truck the Americans showcased some vehicles from past 80 years when the single-cab replaced the horse and carriage and became the workhorse of the rural community and farmers.

The second most significant pick-up showcase meant the ASEAN debut of the all-new Ford Ranger after its worldwide debut in Sydney last October. The new Ford Ranger will be produced from a highly robust single global platform that replaces the two platforms currently in production regionally. Designed and developed in Australia for more than 180 markets worldwide, it is the first truck to be built under the One Ford strategy as part of a global product programme. It will be manufactured beside South Africa and Argentina in Ford-Mazda joint venture AutoAlliance Thailand plant in Rayong as well.

Ford’s newest global compact pickup will be offered in three cab bodystyles - Regular, Super and Double - along with an extensive list of practical features that are available in up to five series choices depending on the market.

Three new engines are available to suit every purpose and pocket: a new 2.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder diesel engine with peak torque output of 375Nm and power output of 110kW (150PS); a highly responsive and efficient new 3.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine with a substantial 470Nm of torque and power rated at 147kW (200PS); and a 2.5-litre Ford Duratec four-cylinder petrol engine with 226Nm of torque and outstanding power at 122kW (166PS), which can be upfitted to run on LPG.

During the show the Ranger Capability Simulator allowed visitors to experience the new Ranger’s handling features, including 4x4 traction control, Adaptive Load Control, Hill launch Assist and Trailer Sway Control. The Ranger Towing Game enabled visitors to test how much they could pull compared to the new Ranger. Visitors were also invited to test their personal "torque performance", to see how they measure up against the new Ranger at the Torque and Power Touch Table.

Isuzu in Thailand supplies one-third of the Japanese maker’s global output, producing four pickup truck models and derivatives PPV (Pickup-Passenger Vehicles). The Thai facility, one of Isuzu’s four pickup truck plants worldwide, now runs at nearly full capacity, with output of 200.000 vehicles forecast this year.

The Isuzu booth designed in black and red color paraded full lineup featuring new-era lifestyle pickups like Isuzu Super Titanium and Isuzu MU-7 Super Titanium in addition to the Isuzu D-Max X-Series, and the Special Edition Isuzu MU-7 "Choiz" for the first time at this Motor Show. This special edition is the in-trend model of choice with its unique exterior and interior design which reflects its personalized style, sporty look, performance and fuel efficiency.

The Isuzu booth also featured entertainment such as Juggling show straight from Japan by Mr.Tempei Arakawa who is regarded as Japan’s premier jugglers of his era, an Activity zone filled with fun and exciting activities, entertainment, games and prizes.

For offroaders Isuzu D-Max with 3000 Ddi VGS Turbo engine completes what's missing from an exciting lively lifestyle with an off-road accessory kit. Robust and tough with special front and rear bumper accessories, side mould protectors by ARB, electric-operated winch by Warn, IPF spotlights and Super Swamper tires.

Another interesting vehicles also based on Isuzu pickup platforms have been seen at the booth of Thairung. The MUV4 Military Utility Vehicle was specially designed to meet the requirements of Thai Military Forces, the prototype was launched 2 years ago right here, at Impact Muang Thong Thani at Defense & Security Exhibition. The company, founded in 1967 by Mr. Vichien Phaoenchoke "king of modified pickup trucks in Thailand", had become the leading manufacturer of Isuzu-based multi-purpose vehicles and has produced more than twenty different models. For example the TR Exclusive Limousine, which is an Isuzu also with extended wheelbase and 6-door luxurious cabin. If the response is good, the MUV4 can also be transformed into a commercial or passenger car as well.

Among the new SUV models Audi highlighted the Q5, BMW featured X1, Hyundai presented the Tucson and Ssangyong the new Korando. Visitors of the Bangkok Motor Show were invited to attend numerous side events, and accompanying activities ranging from off-road competitions, tuning car contests to car audio shows and a wide variety of cars on show from local clubs.

From the very first Bangkok International Motor Show held in Lumpini Park in May of 1979 the idea has always been about innovation and bringing the manufacturers and distributors together with the public.

Originally the Bangkok International Motor Show was billed as a Car of the Year Contest that was held for only one day by using a luxury hotel in Bangkok as a venue. After 5 years of running automotive magazine business, Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow on behalf of the Grand Prix Group had an idea to hold the event related to the automotive business. After his first event "Car of the Year " he intended to hold a longer and bigger event, due to media and general interest for this show. Lumpini Park was chosen to be the venue for the first motor show. This show in May 1979 attracted crowds of visitors and was a huge success.

The success of that first show led main organizer Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow to visit other motor shows around the world in an effort to help make the Bangkok International Motor Show what it is today. Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow continually strives to bring the best of the automotive industry to Thailand by keeping up with industry leaders such as the Tokyo, Frankfurt, Geneva and the Detroit Motor Shows. From it’s meager beginnings at Lumpini Park the International Motor show has grown into a major international event encompassing over 60,000 square meters, many events and attractions spanning 12 days.

The venue of the Bangkok International Motor Show was moved from Lumpini Park to Suan Amphorn. This new place has a lot more facilities than the previous place; so, Suan Amphorn hosted the Bangkok International Motor Show from 1980 for next 18 years. Organizers improved the form of the show every year in order to have more variety of activities to attract more visitors. However the capacity of Suan Amphorn could not comply with the new conceptual needs of the automotive companies and accommodate over 2,000,000 people visiting the show (in 1996).

So, GPI Group decided to change the venue again, and the 19th Bangkok International Motor Show was held for the first time at Bangkok International Trade Exhibition Centre (BITEC) located on Bangna-Trad Road, in order to comply with the name "Detroit of the South East Asia". With 35,500 square metres capacity, perfect infrastructure, and 2,500 parking spaces, automotive companies were able to show their fully potentials. In addition to this, automotive companies joining the show would have a chance to present their newest technologies at this event, such as concept cars, super cars, hi-technology engines, motor sport equipments, cars hi-fi, and others. Furthermore, organizers hold several accompanying activities during the show, such as events for car owners clubs.

During the past few years Thailand automotive industry has expanded its growth rapidly. Exhibitors are outnumbered and more space is requested every year. So, the organisers have decided after 13 years to move to bigger and better facilites at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

2011/04/15 | 12:42 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/GOG

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