BIMS 38th Edition Pulls In 1.6 Million Visitors. Order Books Filled with 36,000 Units
by John K. Lindgren
From budget subcompact Suzuki Celerio at 363,000 baht to ultra prestigious Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé sticker price a cool 46.5 million baht.
Year 2019 will mark the 40th anniversary of BIMS
also known as “The Bangkok International Motor Show”. One of the biggest annual Southeast Asian automotive events traditionally kicking off during the hot season March/April at Challenger Hall Impact Muang Thong Thani.
Always packed. Always exciting. Always busy. On the Press/Media Day yours truly attended the countless press conferences, drank 600 cups of strong coffee, collected press kits and goodie bags, brochures and walked 500 hundred miles on bright red carpets under megawatts of LED lights. It’s all about: Kicking the tires slammin’ the doors and checking out the “pretties”, the attractive presenters. I LOVE THE MOTOR SHOW!
This year’s 12-day automotive exhibition and sales extravaganza from March 29 to April 9 impressed the visitors with 32 passenger car and pickup brands plus 10 motorcycle marques as well as a sea of aftermarket accessories. Many auto manufacturers focused on alternative energy vehicles with plug-in hybrids, low-emission vehicles and electric vehicle concepts.
In the rarified, ultra high-end segment the Aston Martin marque (featured in several James Bond movies) revealed the Vanquish S in glossy piano black, making its Asia Pacific debut. Another legendary nameplate: Rolls-Royce a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW since 1998. “RR” made its Southeast Asia debut at the show with Wraith Black Badge and the Phantom Drophead Coupé (drop dead gorgeous) sticker price: 46.5 million baht, only.
In the center of the exhibition hall the Audi booth attracted a large number of crowds. The German premium Ingolstadt headquartered Audi has made a strong come back with a new importer and distributor: Meister Technik Co, Ltd also known as Audi Thailand introducing many new models for the Thai market. A comprehensive selection including the brand new Audi Q2 compact luxury crossover, Audi A5 Coupé. Also the bigger Audi Q5 SUV which made its ASEAN debut here at the Bangkok 2017 Motor Show.
The Audi lineup of sedans, coupés and SUVs filled the sales consultants’ order books. A total 184 bookings beating Volvo (140) and Lexus (116) orders respectively.
But, Mercedes-Benz (2,090) bookings and BMW (1,273) are still far ahead. However, both ‘Benz’ and ‘Bee-Emm’ have local assembly CKD (Completely Knocked Down) while Audi motor cars are (Completely Built Up) CBU or wholly imported.
Audi is back! Carrying the strong slogan: “Vorsprung durch Technik”, meaning “Advancement through Technology”.
The revered Stuttgart ‘three-pointed star’ Mercedes-Benz, with its impressive customer lounge serving potential buyers premium German beer and Chilean Chardonnay and delicious canapés launched the new E-Class Coupé loaded with advanced driver assist features. Mercedes-Benz motto: “The Best or Nothing”
The Munich based arch-rival BMW’s (Bayerische Motoren Werke) modern designer lounge boasted savoury catering from the five-star Peninsula Hotel. ‘Beemer’ booth highlights: The new 5 Series and the plug-in hybrid version of the 7-Series.
The adjacent MINI concept display area showed off the Countryman and Clubman both outstanding, souped-up John Cooper Works (JCW) editions.
The Japanese Honda always one of the most popular and bestselling brands at the motor show displayed two important new models: the all-new Honda CR-V Diesel and the new cool Honda Civic 5-door, hatchback. Both models made their ASEAN debuts. The 1.6-liter turbo diesel Honda compact SUV attracted a lot of media attention being the first-ever Honda diesel launched in Thailand. The 1,600-cc turbo oil burner promises excellent fuel economy and tons of torque. Price for the new top-spec of the CR-V diesel 1.699 million baht.
Market leader Toyota Thailand – no new product this year. But, facelifted (minor-model change) versions and attractive sales promotions helped Toyota maintain its leadership in the mass-market segment.
Toyota also presented a concept vehicle: FCV Plus, a 2+2 powered by a fuel cell stack that converts hydrogen into water.
Innovation is the future. A motor show without concept vehicles is no motor show!
More concept cars: Nissan, showed its SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) vehicle featuring the world’s first Bioethanol Electric Power system, and Mitsubishi booth highlighted the MiEV Evolution III concept electric race car that took part in the North American Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The iconic Italian luxury sports car Maserati “Una Bella Macchina”, also with a new importer, revealed its completely new crossover, the powerful and stylish Levante, which competes against the already established Teutonic SUV’s Porsche Cayenne and the BMW X5.
The motorbike booths and biker-chick pretties draw huge crowds of onlookers. Especially the big bikes: The American legendary Harley-Davidson with its latest models and the Italian scooter Vespa, built in Vietnam imported and distributed by Vespiario Thailand Co, Ltd.
Among the electric vehicles tricycles and electric golf 1,019 orders, mainly from H Sem Motor Company.
Whether you’re a car, bike or accessory lover, petrol head, boy racer, Sunday driver – or just looking for an affordable family car, Bangkok International Motor Show will never disappoint you.
Admission fee: 100 baht. Less than the price of one cine/multiplex movie ticket.
“Safe Driving & Safe Riding. Remember: Always Buckle Up and Helmet On” In French: “Au Volant La Vue C’est Vie”