Every year, our northern neighbours Thailand curiously plays host to two automotive exhibitions spaced just half a year apart from each other. It is worth noting that in Europe, for example, the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows famously alternate with each other – we had Paris this year, so next year will be Frankfurt’s turn.
In Thailand meanwhile, after the Bangkok Motor Show in around March or April comes the Thailand International Motor Expo towards the tail end of the year, and the latter show is about to commence its 31st edition this weekend at the Impact Challenger halls in Muang Thong Thani, curiously the same venue where the Bangkok Motorshow is held every year too.
This packed calendar evidently comes at no detriment to crowd interest. Contrast our tri-ennial KL International Motor Show which pulls in about 300,000 visitors, the Thai Motor Expo attracted 1.3 million showgoers last year, with admittedly only two percent being international visitors. This year, the show’s organizers are targeting to lure 1.5 million visitors with the hopes of helping the participating car makers secure a total of 50,000 orders from the show grounds.
The Expo is organized annually at the initiative of Inter-Media Consultant Co. Ltd, a media house responsible for a number of automotive-themed publications, websites, and TV programmes. The company’s president, Mr Kwanchai Paphatphong, also serves as the event’s Organizing Chairman.
Paphatphong said that, “The organizer has been developing standards of the Motor Expo on a continuous basis, thati is we became a member of The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry or UFI: Union des Foires Internationales in 2012, and this year, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has given us support by inviting foreign correspondents to attend the Motor Expo.”
The Thai Convention and Exhibition Bureau is a public organization operating under the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, and its support of the Thai Motor Expo is extended with the objective of demonstrating the country’s capability and readiness to become an international convention centre.
Having attended a number of international motoring exhibitions in our line of work, the Thai Motor Expo is still far from achieving the same relevance as more prominent shows, but the level of organization we have observed is no less impressive. The press room, for example, is equipped with the security of electronic key card access, fast internet, computer work stations, and all relevant press materials (no English copies unfortunately) neatly stocked at journalist’s disposal. We mention this because it demonstrates the organizer’s thoughtfulness at looking into the various details.
There is admittedly little in the way of international news value on the exhibition floor – the Mazda2 Sedan is the only global debut of note whilst the new Mitsubishi Triton makes a first public appearance after its recent global debut. Other notable vehicles of interest include the Subaru Outback which we drove briefly yesterday, the new Mustang from Ford, the facelifted CR-V alongside its junior sibling HR-V from Honda, and the new NP300 Navara and X-Trail from Nissan. Proton is here too, showcasing the Preve, Suprima S, and Exora whilst previewing the Iriz ahead of its Thai launch.