The 31st Bangkok International Motor Show opened its doors at the BITEC Convention Centre today. Considering how hight the automotive import taxes are, close to 200% it’s surprising to me how large an automotive industry there is here.
BMW continues on their path to be the General Motors of Europe by producing the more SUVs than anyone else. Their latest is the X1, a crossover vehicle for those people who haven’t figured out that they make a 1-series wagon.
Mercedes-Benz showed up with their latest over-powered super car. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is an hommage to the original 1954 300 SL and it certainly looks the part with the gullwing doors. This car looks dramatic and no doubt many celebrities will buy it but it can’t compare to the original Mercedes supercar.
Lexus showed off their first ever supercar, known intertnally at Toyota as “the Germans are building supercars so we have to build one too.” The LFA has an all carbon fiber body and the specs are certainly impressive but who is going to buy this car? The Europeans don’t buy Japanese and the Americans are suddenly too broke to buy cars. It will no doubt be a strong seller in Japan but similar to the Honda NSX this car will have little impact on the automotive world and eventually will fade away.
Honda is an automotive company that spends a fortune on building robots that can dance and climb stairs and today they unveiled the results of all that stair climbing. The Honda U3-X is a self-balancing, omnidirectional, all electric personal scooter. Using similar technology to the Segway the U3-X ups the geek factor but allowing the rider to move back and forth, sideways and even diagonal.
I took a Bangkok Segway tour last month and throughly enjoyed the self balancing experience. It’s too bad that many short sited community leaders are so quick to ban these machines because I think they represent a remarkable breakthrough in personal transportation.
Overall I was impressed with the size and scope of the Bangkok International Motor Show. Manufacturers from all over Asia as well as Europe and America had their latest models on display and what surprised me was how large this show was compared to the Tokyo Auto Show I attended last year. While the future of the Tokyo show is in doubt the Bangkok auto shows seem to get bigger and better every year.