After plenty of leaks and spyshots, the 2016 Toyota Fortuner has finally been unveiled in Thailand. The second-generation Hilux-based seven-seater SUV has been totally redesigned with a sleek new look, a more premium-looking interior and a range of new engines. Looks handsome, doesn’t it? While we’ve seen the design as early as March, it remains very forward-looking, with slim headlights flanking a heavily-chromed grille. Under this, a chiselled bumper with chrome inserts brings on a very macho look. Along the side, the prominent haunches give the new Fortuner a strong stance, enhanced by optional 18-inch wheels shod in 265/60 rubber (standard fitment in Thailand). The beltline also kinks upwards towards the rear, and blacked-out pillars give it a “floating roof” look. Finishing off the look are equally slim tail lights, fitted with LED light guides. The interior takes a decidedly upwards step in perceived quality – there’s a sophisticated-looking … [Read more...] about 2016 Toyota Fortuner debuts in Thailand, from RM133k
Thailand moving forward
The Nissan Note is Thailand’s latest eco car, launched in January. It is Nissan’s third eco car after the March hatchback and Almera sedan, and the company’s final one under Phase 1 of the eco car project, which is now in Phase 2. It has been awhile since there was an all-new model in the affordable eco car segment, so this is notable entry. But the Note is not a new model, having been around in second-generation form since 2012. The high-roofed five-door hatch was facelifted in Japan late last year, and the Thai eco car is based on this latest version with the V-Motion grille, boomerang rear LED signatures and flat-bottomed steering wheel. However, the JDM Note e-Power’s unique hybrid system is not present here (it’s meant to be affordable), and in its place is the trusty HR12DE 1.2L used in the March and Almera. With 79 PS and 106 Nm of torque, the three-cylinder engine is mated to an Xtronic CVT automatic. Claimed combined fuel consumption is five … [Read more...] about Bangkok 2017: Nissan Note, Thailand’s latest eco car
Traditionally, MPVs are the go-to vehicle of choice for those looking to transport more than five people on a given journey. While that may be the case, most buyers aren’t enthralled by the boxy appearance of the people mover. With the trend shifting toward high-riding SUVs these days, automakers are blending the two concepts to create a product that has the visual appeal of an SUV, with the practical capabilities of an MPV. Which is why we were flown into Bangkok to get a little taste of Honda’s effort – the BR-V. Jointly developed by Honda R&D Asia Pacific in Thailand, and P.T. Honda R&D in Indonesia, the “Bold Runabout Vehicle” is specially-made to cater towards Asian markets, and has already been introduced in the both countries mentioned. Soon, the seven-seater SUV (or crossover as Honda reps call it) will make its way into Malaysia, set to become the company’s first seven-seater SUV in the country. Indirectly, it also serves to fill the … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: Honda BR-V seven-seater SUV sampled in Thailand – coming to Malaysia soon; worth the wait?
The Nissan Note has finally been launched in Thailand, with two variants on offer – V and VL – priced from 568,000 baht (RM71,714) for the former, while the range-topper retails for 640,000 baht (RM80,805). A completely new model for the Thailand market, the Note is the third Nissan model to be introduced under the country’s ECO Car Phase 1 programme. Under the hood, there’s the same HR12DE 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine found in the March hatchback and Almera sedan. The mill outputs 79 PS and 106 Nm of torque, with drive being directed to the front wheels via an Xtronic CVT only (no manual option). According to Nissan, the Note’s fuel consumption is rated at 5 l/100 km, whereas CO2 emissions is at 120 g/km, both well within Phase 1 specifications. As previously reported, the JDM Note e-Power and its range extender hybrid powertrain is given a miss for the Thailand market. In terms of design, the Note is based on the latest facelifted model that made its … [Read more...] about Nissan Note eco car launched in Thailand, from RM71k
The Thai auto market has started 2017 with a bang. We’re barely into the third week of the year and Honda has already kicked off proceedings with the launch of the City facelift. In an almost instant retaliation, Toyota will unveil a facelifted Vios this week. But of the three big Japanese players, Nissan could have the biggest say with the launch of the Note, which will happen tomorrow in Bangkok. Biggest not just because the Note is an all-new model for Thailand, but it’s an eco car with affordable pricing. As revealed earlier, the Thai eco car Note is based on the latest facelifted model that made its home market debut late last year. The roomy high-roofed hatch will come with the proven 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine that currently powers the March and Almera eco cars. The 79 PS/106 Nm HR12DE unit will be paired to an Xtronic CVT automatic gearbox. No manual option. The JDM Note e-Power comes with a unique hybrid system, and while Nissan recently brought Thai … [Read more...] about Nissan Note eco car launching in Thailand tomorrow
Introducing a new segment to a car market as yet small but as competitive as ours is a brave endeavour. See, in big markets with more vast buying populations, needs are generally more varied, so you can push in something new, comfortable in the assumption that there should be enough people who go, “At last! Where’ve you been all this while?” But as if being small wasn’t enough, the Malaysian car market is also traditional, cautious and very cost-conscious on the whole. We’re not too eager to try new things, and are quite sceptical of new tech – unless of course, it’s affordable, easily accessible, or free. All of which are traits that are hindrances to, say, the introduction of a new kind of car. If reports are to be believed, the B-segment crossover market is positively thriving in Europe, with a new breed comprising the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka vying for sales. With urbanisation and congestion on the … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: Ford EcoSport 1.5 in Hua Hin, Thailand
Previously I blogged about Thailand’s refusal to lower import taxes on vehicles from Malaysia down to an AFTA agreed rate of 5%. It wants to maintain it’s 20% current rate as it considers Malaysia’s non-tax barriers non-compliant under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). Examples of these non-tax barriers are import regulations like quotas, which allow Thailand to bring in only 50,000 cars annually despite the Malaysian market supporting the sales of 100,000 cars annually. Of course in the spirit of the AFTA agreement, the two governments are still trying to sort this mess out. Thailand wants Malaysia to relax it’s regulations before it will lower it’s tax rates for incoming Malaysian vehicles. Thailand is of the opinion that there should not be export quotas and strict import regulations in a fair playing ground. 10% of the vehicles imported by Thailand annually comes from Malaysia. Our Malaysian government is still waiting for full details on the … [Read more...] about Thailand and Malaysia negotiation on tariffs
This preview of the 9th Generation Honda Civic very nearly did not happen. There were two possible endings – the car ending up in the river with its wheels rolling in the air, or the car ending inside the other FB Civic in front. Both of which would have had me flown home in a box or a very black bag. The Civic opened up a third possibility. Let me set the scene. It was a long and straight road in Thailand that blurred into the horizon. The river, equally straight and long, was on the left of the two-lane, well-paved road. “You can go faster now,” said my Thai guide. I needed no encouragement. I pushed the accelerator closer to the floor. The five-speed automatic kicked down a gear, smoothly I might add, and the 2.0 litre engine roared and picked up speed. At this point, I would have summoned all of the 153 hp and 190 Nm of torque available, and would have been well deep into the VTEC’s second stage. Speed was building up all too easy. This engine has one cam … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: 2012 Honda Civic FB (9th Gen) previewed in Thailand – not pretty, but handles brilliantly!
Vimal Sumbly, MD, Triumph Motorcycles India speaks to Amit Panday on the five pillars of the brand’s India growth gameplan, which includes its flexible product localization strategy, big bike financing, foray into the second hand motorcycle market and other critical areas. Excerpts: How do you assess the midsized naked performance motorcycle segment in India? How is the new Street Triple S different from the Street Triple sold earlier and what are your expectations from the new model?Naked-sports is a growing segment in the domestic big bike market. Earlier the customers did not have many choices in the market. However, this has changed now, and this is the reason why this segment is becoming competitive. Performance is one of the key criteria for the customers of this segment and we wanted to bring out that performance criteria for our customers. The best part of this new product is that is has a combination of two factors – it now comes with a larger … [Read more...] about ‘Going forward, we will have 90 percent of our India portfolio imported as CKD units while 10 percent will be CBU.’
Mazda Motor Corporation has begun production of the all-new Mazda2 (known as Mazda Demio in Japan) at its Thai production facility, Auto Alliance (Thailand) (AAT). The all-new Mazda2 currently being produced at AAT is bound for Australia. Moving forward, AAT will also produce the all-new Mazda2 for ASEAN countries and other markets in Oceania. Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO), Mazda's new plant in Mexico, will begin producing the model within 2014, consolidating a global supply system. Regarding the start of production, Mazda's Representative Director, President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai commented, "It is a huge and challenging task to start production of a new model at three different plants around the world in such quick succession. We call Hofu Plant in Japan the 'mother plant,' and we are committed to ensuring that vehicles produced in Thailand and Mexico for our customers around the world are built to the same high quality standards as those in Japan." AAT is the second … [Read more...] about Mazda2 production begins in Thailand for export to Australia, later ASEAN markets