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I had been honoured with a very special treat. The ‘VIP Preview Day’, at the 31st edition of the Bangkok International Motor Show, the Kingdom’s largest automotive exhibition...
Photo: Nathalie behind the steering wheel of the awsome Mercedes-Benz 'SLS AMG', playing the role of a 'modern Grace Kelly'

...offered me and a few hand-picked car lovers the unique chance to come and ‘play’ with the two- and four-wheelers, two days prior to the official opening on the 26th of March! We were amongst the first in the world to see numerous new vehicle debuts such as the ‘Eco Car March’ by Nissan Motors (Thailand), the latest innovation in green solutions, as well as being treated to moments of pure spectacle, including the revelation of the stunning Mercedes SLS 63 AMG, accompanied by incredible acrobatics of the show’s stuntmen. It wasn’t difficult during the following 12 days to slip into top gear, as visitors were given the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the latest concept and production cars and motorcycles.

The annual International Motor Show, held from March the 26th until April the 6th, at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center, has grown at an unprecedented rate since it was first conceived in the mid-seventies. “For this year, the show received approval from OICA (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobile), the governing body for international motor shows, which would also be included in OICA’s calendar of events”, said Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow, Chairman of the event’s organising committee. He also stated that “despite the recession, the automobile industry has been growing stronger, showing positive numbers since the beginning of the year.”

“In order to ensure that the event complies with world standards, organisers raised the marketing budget from 40-million Baht to 60-million Baht. “This shows that the standards carried by the Bangkok Motor Show are on par with other major auto shows, like those in Frankfurt or in Tokyo.” In an exclusive interview with select foreign media guests, Dr. Eamlumnow also revealed that next year’s show would be staged in its new 60,000 square-metre venue at the IMPACT Challenger, in Muang Thong Thani.

“Ecology Driving - Save the Earth” was the theme of this year’s show, aiming to show solutions for sustainable mobility. Nissan Motor (Thailand) celebrated the world debut of the Nissan March, which already received a 5,000-unit pre-order in its first week. This global compact vehicle is the first model offered for sale under Thailand’s ‘Eco-Car’ program, created by the Ministry of Industry’s Board of Investment (BOI), to encourage the development of energy-efficient vehicles.

“To receive eco-car designation, requirements for low fuel consumption and emissions must be met, as well as passenger safety standards for front and side impact, under the stringent standards of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe,” explains Roger Immel, Vice President Sales of Nissan Motor (Thailand)...

Photo: Nathalie with Roger Immel, Vice President Sales of Nissan Motor (Thailand), in front of the new 'Eco Car Nissan March'

"Our Eco Car is priced from 375,000 Baht to 537,000 Baht, and offers great value for money.” Nissan is the first of six global car makers to obtain generous Thai government incentives to produce small vehicles under the country’s ‘Green Car Projects’. The BOI offers these companies corporate tax exemption for at least five years, provided their production reaches 100,000 a year within the first five years of operation.

Other major highlights, at the Bangkok Motor Show, were the sleek Lexus LF-CH, the eco-friendly Toyota RIN, the BMW X1 and the absolutely stunning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. This awe-inspiring winged car is an unparalleled combination of high technology and fascinating design. Opening the gull-wing doors upward reveals the stylish dashboard, which was designed to resemble the cockpit of an airplane. Chassis and body are made entirely of aluminum, and the 6.3-liter front-mid V8 engine makes the SLS AMG one of the most powerful vehicles in its class. This super-sports car is the first vehicle that AMG has developed independently in the company’s more than 40-year history, and represents a reinterpretation of the Mercedes-Benz legendary gull-wing automobile.

I simply could not resist the lure of the red multi-horse powered beauty that stood before me, and I slipped behind the steering wheel to play the role of a ‘modern Grace Kelly’. For the moment, it didn’t matter that Mercedes Benz will be retailing this dream car for 25,000,000 Baht! Yes, that’s MILLION! Nor did it matter that there were no keys in the ignition for me to hear her purr with the rhythmic vibrations of a cheetah, but the future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams...

See more photos of the Bangkok International Motor Show 2010 by clicking here...

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