Thai trade in the spotlight
BANGKOK traffic is crazy enough. Go to the Thai capital’s annual motor show and there’s just two words for it — sensory overload.
There aren’t many worldwide reveals, although this year the new Ford Ranger was shown for the first time.
Locals make up for it with wild and wonderful cars, laser shows, crazy accessories, excruciating pop music and eye-popping dance routines. It is not a place for kids on the opening media day, when exhibitors have no issue with scantily clad models draped over the cars.
Thailand is a major player, producing several hundred thousand cars and utes a year for international markets, though there are few local makers of passenger vehicles. Thairung is one of them and it gained plenty of attention with its Transformer, which looks like a shrunken H2 Hummer, with a bit of Jeep thrown in.
Thairung builds a military version of this machine, which sits on a Toyota HiLux chassis, for the Thai Army.
Another vehicle gaining plenty of attention was a newage Mini Moke, which is produced in China and sold in selected developing countries. Maker Moke International claims it can do 110km/h but that probably wouldn’t be wise given its limited crash protection.
Isuzu was in danger of being overshadowed by the Ranger at the other end of the hall but got its time in the spotlight with a pair of remarkable D-Max utes.
One was wore a fantastic green metallic wrap that glowed under the bright lights. Dropped down low and riding on 20-inch wheels, it was one of the show-stoppers.
Next to it was a super-tough off-road D-Max with raised suspension, knobby mud tyres and massive chunky bull bar.
Toyota revealed a “Nurburgring Edition” Corolla sedan — no kidding — which features a body kit but no mechanical changes. The company didn’t say how fast it could lap the famous circuit. It might take a while.
Next to it was an updated Camry, which was painted brown, a colour that makes white Camrys look good.
Chevrolet got in on the act with a matt black go-anywhere Colorado7, while it also built a custom Cruze.
Its hot version of the car that sells as a Barina in Australia was lowered and decked out with a glowing green grille and headlights.
The accessories section didn’t disappoint, with some of the craziest parts known to man. The best was a chandelier to hang from the roof of a HiAce-style commuter van.
There were super-sized and super-bright alloy wheels in almost every colour under the sun, including one bright green example with oval spokes designed to look like flower petals.