2024 Bangkok Motor Show: Top picks

By JAY WONG | 2 April 2024


BANGKOK: Considered to be the most important automotive showcase and sales platform for Thailand, the Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) acts as a gateway of things to come to Asean.

Now in its 45th iteration, the show – with an investment of over 300 million baht (RM39mil), has expanded from last year’s 60,000sq m to 76,000sq m.

The show continues to receive collaboration from Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thai Automotive Industry Association, Thailand Society of Automotive Engineers, Thai Auto-parts Manufacturers Association, Thai Intelligent Transport System Association, Thailand Royal Automobile Association (under Royal Patronage) and Impact Exhibition Management Co Ltd.

With 49 car and motorcycle brands converging at the Impact Arena, Exhibition and Convention Center in Muang Thong Thani, Thailand, the number of exhibitors is said to have returned to pre-Covid-19 levels.

This year’s show, running from March 27 to April 7, is expecting an increase of 15% to 20% in terms of visitors and vehicle booking numbers to help boost the growth of Thailand’s automotive industry.

China-based carmakers are making a strong appearance which consisted mainly of electrified and electric vehicles (EVs).

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First in line is Thailand’s first hybrid pick-up truck, the rather large Poer Sahar HEV by Great Wall Motor (GWM) - also known as the Cannon in Malaysia and other markets.

This pick-up truck pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (244PS and 380Nm) with an electric motor (106PS and 268Nm) that’s powered by a lithium-ion battery for a total system output of 351PS and 615Nm.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co (GAC) presented its Aion (a sub-brand of GAC) line-up with a key showing of its all-electric Hyper SSR supercar.

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Primarily constructed out of carbon fibre, the Hyper SSR costs 7.89 million baht (RM1mil) and uses a 900V architecture with power stored in a 74.69kWh Ternary Lithium-ion NMC battery.

Power has been rated at 1,224hp and 1,230Nm of torque for its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that allows it to launch from 0 to 100kph in 2.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 250kph.

At MG’s camp, the diminutive all-electric Cyberster was on display to tickle the fancies of potential sports car buyers, although it’s priced at 2.5 million baht (RM325,000).

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Along with its roadster design, it is accompanied by scissor doors, 20-inch wheels, a retractable soft-top roof, 77kWh battery, 503km of range (NEDC), a 544PS/725Nm AWD system and takes 3.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100kph before reaching a top speed of 200kph.

From XPeng, another carmaker based in Guangzhou, China that’s slated to arrive in Malaysia via Bermaz Auto Bhd, the company began accepting bookings for its all-electric G6 sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Although prices have yet to be finalised, the rear-wheel driven G6 was estimated to cost between 1.5 and 1.8 million baht (RM195,000 to RM234,000) for its two variants of Standard Range (66kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery) and Long Range (87.5kWh NMC battery).

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While both variants are rear-wheel driven (RWD), performance has been fixed at 296PS and 440Nm – allowing it to sprint from 0 to 100kph in 6.6 seconds (5.9 seconds – Long Range) and reach a top speed of 202kph. Range for both vehicles has been touted at 580km and 755km (CLTC) respectively.

Zeekr, a premium brand under Geely, displayed its all-electric 007 sedan that was designed in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Regardless, the 007 (no relation to a fictional British spy) is available in either RWD (421PS/440Nm) or AWD (646PS/710Nm) while featuring pop-in door handles, a minimalist’s dream interior and a full glass roof panel, among others.

The RWD variant will dispatch 0-100kph sprints in 5.6 seconds while the AWD variant cuts the time down to 3.8 seconds.

 

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Although the AWD variant is faster to 100kph, its range has been limited to 616km with the RWD variant having 72km more range at 688km. Both are equipped with the same 75kWh lithium iron phosphate battery.

Away from China-based makes and models is Honda’s all-electric e:N1 which recently began its production in Thailand at the end of 2023.

The front-wheel driven (FWD) e:N1 which uses the HR-V’s platform, gets a 68.8kWh lithium-ion battery to allow its electric motor to produce 204PS and 310Nm - gifting it with up to 500km (NEDC) of range.

Upon its unveiling during the show, the e:N1 was said to only be available in Thailand through rental programmes, with fees starting from 29,000 baht (RM3,700) per month.

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The introduction of the e:N1 provides the Japanese brand with bragging rights as the first locally-assembled Japanese EV in the Thai market before showcasing its SCE Concept e-scooter as a potential last-mile solution.

Volvo debuted its little electric EX30 sub-compact SUV that sits below the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric in size.

A 69kWh NMC battery powers all three variants with its price range starting with the EX30 Single Core Motor Extended Range at 1.59 million baht (RM206,000).

The mid-range Ultra Single Motor Extended Range sells at 1.79 million baht (RM232,000) while the range-topping Ultra Twin Motor Performance gets tagged at 1.89 million baht (RM245,000).

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Although the Core and Ultra use a single electric motor with 272PS and 343Nm on tap, it gets from 0 to 100kph in 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 180kph and up to 480km (WLTP) of range.

The range-topper uses an AWD setup instead with 428PS and 543Nm – allowing it to dispatch century sprints in 3.6 seconds while providing up to 460km of range.

Mazda got some of the limelight during this year’s show with the unveiling of its MX-30 e-SKYACTIV R-EV which uses an 830cc rotary engine, producing 75PS and 116Nm, as a range extender by recharging the 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery located under the floorboard.

The battery is almost half the capacity of the regular MX-30’s 35.5kWh battery.

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Going this route, the R-EV can now travel up to around 600km – thanks to the rotary engine and 50 litres of petrol.

For performance, the total system output now stands at 170PS and 260Nm compared to the MX-30s 145PS and 271Nm and is now 0.6 seconds quicker to 100kph at 9.1 seconds while top speed remains limited to 140kph.

Although unveiled, the R-EV is merely a showing of one of the Japanese carmaker’s solutions to achieving carbon neutrality.

South Korean carmaker, Kia, brought out its all-electric EV9 flagship SUV – launched in Thailand in early March, in two variants namely the Earth Long Range (RWD) at 3.5 million baht (RM462,000) and the range-topping GT-Line (AWD) at 3.9 million baht (RM515,000).

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The EV9 is effectively a three-row six-seater SUV with a 99.8kWh lithium-ion battery that twists out a 203PS and 350Nm for the Earth Long Range and can travel up to 680km (NEDC), sprint from 0-100kph in 9.4 seconds as well as reach a top speed of 185kph for the base model.

The range-topping GT-Line is more potent with a total system output of 384PS and 700Nm, dropping its sprint time to 5.3 seconds while having a higher top speed of 200kph.

However, this comes at the expense of a driving range reduced to 647km.

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