The latest manufacturer to claim that they are
making Thailand their manufacturing base is KIA Motors. KIA has had a
few problems in their homeland, Korea, but have come out of the Korean
auto recession and are expanding. The Carnival 7-seater MPV has sold
well in Thailand and KIA are talking 5,000 units a year within three
One reason for the predicted increase in sales is
the formation of Yontrakit KIA Motors which will assemble the Carnival
here in Thailand. KIA are also talking about assembly of their small
car line in another two years after the release of the locally
produced Carnival around the middle of next year.
This one is probably less likely, with KIA having
just spent USD 300 million to set up the manufacture of their small
sedans in China. However, bringing the MPV line on-shore makes sense,
to directly face GM with the very successful Zafira.
A couple of weeks back I asked about some strange
vehicles that had been snapped in Thailand. Regular quiz competitor
Peter Eades had this to say about this one.
“The red car with artillery wheels that you want
identified looks similar to something I owned way back in 1970. It was
a Siva Edwardian Roadster designed by Neville Trickett and made from
1969 until 1976. Only 105 Sivas were made and only 25 were the
Roadster model. It was based on the Ford E93A chassis and engine.
Your picture shows something which is obviously a
replica whereas the Siva could fool a lot of people. I took it on the
London to Brighton vintage run and no one noticed the fake despite the
lack of an entry number. On one occasion I parked in a pub car park
and an excited silver haired gentleman came running out and exclaimed
that he had not seen a De Dion Bouton since he was a boy. There have
been many such replicas made but I have only seen artillery wheels on
the Siva, this is why I think it may be a Neville Trickett design but
later than my own. He went on to do similar things with Hillman Imp
and 2CV chassis but nothing surpassed the elegance of the original
Roadster. (Yeah I just HAD to say that).”
So there you are, fellow Automaniacs - that’s the closest so far!
The next CART to F1
The latest driver to move from CART is Christiano
da Matta, this year’s CART champion. In doing this he is following
in the footsteps of Villeneuve, who also won the F1 title, and
Montoya, who wants to win the F1 title, if he can only get Mrs.
Schumacher’s big boy to retire!
Da Matta has now joined Toyota, which, unless the
moon turns into blue cheese, has not a hope in hell of winning next
year. Of course, the British media are all ‘on the scent’ and have
been trying to nail da Matta into making rash statements. The
Independent came up with the following, and I must say I am impressed
with the way the 29 year old handled the baying newshounds:
“I don’t know if I am as good as Montoya or
Villeneuve. We will see next year,” said da Matta. “(Michael)
Schumacher is the best, as his record shows. But I’m not scared of
Schumacher or anybody else. If you have the guts you have a chance.
“I’m not expecting to fight for the
championship or win races in my first season. You have to go step by
step. If I wanted to stay a hero, winning races, I would have stayed
in America. This is a new stage in my career. It will take time.”
The 29-year-old Brazilian also admits that it was
not financial gain that drew him to Formula One, but rather the
opportunity to try his hand at something new. And hopefully excel at
“I don’t care about the money. I’ll make less
here than in America because of the prize money I was getting over
there. I have a simple lifestyle. As long as I have my guitar and
bicycle I have all I need. I’m happy,” da Matta said.
“I’m here in Formula One because I wanted a new
challenge. Winning the CART championship was one of the biggest
reasons for coming over. I’ve done that. I needed to move on. Toyota
have given me that opportunity.
“It is a team with a bright future. In some ways
there is more pressure on me because I am a champion. More is expected
of me. But in my head, no, there is not more pressure.”
I think someone should tell our Christiano that
Toyota WILL be wanting their pound of flesh. They might not share that
same idea that he shouldn’t be expecting to win races! We shall see.