My car was parked near my house the other night, and the next
morning I was greeted with a smashed tail light cluster and some bumper damage.
Was there a note to say sorry? No there was not.
New figures from a trusted source in the UK, reveal that only 3 percent of
motorists whose vehicles were damaged while parked had been left any contact
details from the other party.
Perhaps not surprisingly, car door dents were the most common damage to parked
cars with nearly two-thirds of motorists reporting this type of damage.
Paintwork scratches or key lines accounted for 61 percent of damage, while 32
percent of motorists surveyed returned to their vehicle to find wing mirror
damage. Other damages included deflated tyres - 3.6 percent, and graffiti - 1.4
But it’s not just damage while the car is parked that’s worrying drivers.
According to a poll of nearly 1,000 motorists, the state of UK roads and the
effect on vehicle condition is also a cause for concern.
Over two thirds blame potholes for noticeable or significant damage to their
car. And more than half think speed humps are responsible for noticeable or
“Cars are bound to pick up some damage day-to-day, whether this means parking
dents and scratches, speed humps and pothole damage or stone chips,” said Tim
Naylor, Editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report. “But it is important to get
any damage repaired as soon as possible before it deteriorates, particularly if
you are thinking of selling your car. Cars in good all-around condition
generally sell quicker and for more money, so protect your investment by having
repairs done in good time.”
So there you are. It is not just in Thailand that we drive on pot-holed roads
and get parking damage.
What did we learn from the Japan GP?
Well, we learned (yet again) that some of the FIA rules and
regulations are just stupid. Take Hamilton and Button in the McLarens. Both had
their gearboxes changed, but only Button got the five grid place penalty.
Reason? Hamilton’s failed during the race, so no penalty. Button finished the
race with his, but it was changed as it was showing early signs of failure, so
penalized. Hulkenberg (Force India) wiped his gearbox off in a crash in the
practice sessions, so got a grid penalty as well.
For many spectators, the interest in the Japanese Grand Prix ended on the first
corner with Alonso (Ferrari) out with a puncture after being nailed by Raikkonen
(“Lotus”), Webber (Red Bull) run into by Grosjean (“Lotus”) whom he described as
“the first-lap nutcase again” and ending up at the tail of the field and Rosberg
(Mercedes) run into by Senna (Williams) and retiring on the spot.
Quite frankly, I thought it was a boring race. The Finger (Vettel, Red Bull)
streaked away and was never likely to be challenged by anyone other than Webber,
who was driving at the wrong end of the field. With Alonso out, Ferrari’s
fortunes were in the hands of Felipe Massa who lucked his way through the first
lap carnage and settled into second place which he held till the end, giving the
little chap his first podium in two years. If he keeps that form going he might
(just might) get a reprieve and another contract for the next 12 months. And did
you notice that it had been so long for Massa that he forgot when he was
supposed to spray the champagne.
The ‘star’ of the race was undoubtedly Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), his third place
being only the third time a Japanese driver has ended up on the podium. He
claimed third after the first round of pit stops and did not have to fight for
the position until the last two laps when he was being harried by Button
Button had a lonely race, looking at the tail of Kobayashi, and if he did pass
anything out there it was probably wind and went unnoticed by the TV cameras. He
did (again) finish in front of his Mercedes-bound team mate whose race was far
from memorable, though he did re-pass Perez (Sauber) after falling asleep and
leaving the door open a few laps earlier.
After tagging Alonso at the first corner, Raikkonen was another lonely racer who
showed a reasonable turn of speed, but definitely no ‘fire’ from the ‘ice man’.
Those who are likely to become high jumpers at the end of 2012 remain Senna,
Karthikeyan, Petrov and Vergne, with scrutiny being placed on Massa and
Grosjean, Webber’s favorite nut case!
Finally, great day for Japan, but not for most of the F1 circus. Highlights were
Schumacher’s push to 11th after starting 23rd and Webber’s fight back to 9th
from the very tail of the field. Not much else, I am afraid, and no passing in
the shortened DRS zone. 53 passing maneuvers last year and probably half a dozen
if we were lucky this year. Somebody got the DRS equation wrong. Let us hope
that Korea will be better.
The Thai GP?
A Bangkok GP?
Much excitement in the popular press about the possibility of
Thailand having one round of the Formula 1 circus. Thailand is aiming to join
the Formula One calendar in 2014, according to Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor
of the Sports Authority of Thailand.
Kanokphand met with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone during the Singapore Grand Prix
weekend where, the Bangkok Post reports, a deal was agreed in principle.
According to Bernie, “It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco.
It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix.”
But don’t get excited yet and look for pre-purchased tickets, Kanokphand added
that the two parties had yet to agree upon a fee. And fees to just hold the race
are exceptionally high. So high that many countries are talking about not
renewing their agreement.
How high? Well, you are looking at $40 million staging costs! Then fees of $60
million and up to $150 million.
However, if that is decided and agreed upon, Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol
Silpa-archa has stated that the Thai government would shoulder 60 percent of the
total cost and the rest would be paid by private companies such as Red Bull and
Toyota - the world’s most valuable auto brand?
Toyota on top.
Toyota was named the world's most valuable automotive brand
for the ninth year running in the recently published Best Global Brands report
2012, compiled by Interbrand. This year’s report sees Toyota’s brand valuation
improve by 9 percent to over $30 million. The brand secured 10th position across
all industries (not just the auto industry), an improvement of one place over
According to Interbrand, Toyota's success is due largely to excellent customer
service, an impressive line-up of environmentally friendly products such as the
Toyota Prius, and a strengthening appeal with younger customers.
In June this year, Toyota also emerged on top for the second year running as the
Best Global Green Brand. Interbrand highlighted Toyota’s continued determination
to maintain environmental sustainability as a top management priority as a key
part to the company’s success story.
(When compiling the Best Global Brands report, Interbrand use a methodology that
takes into account a multitude of factors that affect how a brand connects with
the consumer and adds value to the organization.)
Japanese GP this weekend
One of the greatest tracks used in Formula One today, Japan’s
Suzuka circuit is a massive test of car and driver ability. Built by Honda as a
test facility in 1962, the track was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholz, the
Hermann Tilke of his day (but don’t let that put you off). A huge theme park was
also constructed at the track, including the famous big wheel which dominates
the Suzuka skyline.
At Suzuka the race has provided the scene for many nail-biting end-of-season
deciders, including the infamous collisions involving Alain Prost and Ayrton
Senna. This week, will it be Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean, Michael
Schumacher (again) or Felipe Massa in the colliding business?
Suzuka includes some of the Grand Prix calendar’s most challenging corners.
Among the drivers’ favorites are the high-speed 130R taken at over 300 km/h and
the famous Spoon Curve taken at 140 km/h on the way in and coming out at 180
With the results from Singapore still in everybody’s minds, will Suzuka be a
firecracker or a fizzer? With a circuit that encourages passing, it would have
to be a better race than Singapore, and I don’t care how many “celebrities”
Now, important - with the time differential between here and Japan, the race on
Sunday starts at 1 p.m. Thai time.
Adding some noise - for safety’s sake
The move to quiet, eco-friendly vehicles has brought a new
aspect to vehicle/pedestrian safety. The new cars are so quiet, pedestrians are
not alerted to an oncoming vehicle as the engine/exhaust noise is no longer
However, Harman, the premium global audio and infotainment group has announced
that a major European-based automaker will be integrating Harman’s exclusive
HALOsonic™ External Sound Synthesis (ESS) solution in a line of plug-in hybrid
vehicles. This is considered to be potentially life-saving technology that
generates sound outside the vehicle, particularly targeted at hybrid or electric
vehicles that are virtually silent at low speeds.
The HALOsonic ESS solution generates a synthesized sound, dependent on speed and
direction, and projects it from an exterior mounted speaker, giving an early
identifiable warning to pedestrians that the car is approaching. The sound is
projected only in the direction of travel, fading away almost instantly once the
vehicle has passed. A synthetic engine ‘idle’ sound is also produced when the
vehicle is switched on and placed in gear.
“We are very pleased to be pioneering a new form of safety features for
automakers through our HALOsonic sound solutions,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, the
chairman, president, and CEO of Harman. “With HALOsonic technology onboard
vehicles such as ultra-quiet hybrids, these energy-conscious vehicles are also
addressing safety concerns through advanced electronics.”
Several countries such as USA, Japan and parts of Europe have either implemented
or are currently reviewing legislation to state that hybrid and electric
vehicles must emit a recognizable sound above a minimum noise level to help
improve pedestrian safety.
In addition to safety benefits, Harman offers a range of audio-based solutions
under the HALOsonic banner that also help produce more environmentally-friendly
cars beyond only hybrids or electric cars. Vehicle manufacturers are striving to
meet new environmental and emission standards by a variety of means including,
for instance, lowering vehicle weight by reducing the amount of noise-dampening
insulation in a car’s headliner. In doing so, cabin noise often increases.
Harman’s HALOsonic solutions can produce sounds not only external to the
vehicle, but generate noise-cancelling sound inside the vehicle that helps meet
environmental goals while increasing driver comfort.
Noise cancelling sound should be compulsory at Thai Karaoke parties!
Toyota top of the tree (again)
August 2012 statistics have been released for domestic
vehicle sales in Thailand with a total of 129,509 units being sold, just
slightly below the all-time record of the previous month (131,646 vehicles in
Again, the performance of Toyota Thailand being the leader in both the pickup
and passenger car segment is impressive and certainly inspiring for all
The largest year-on-year growth are recorded for Mazda (118 percent) and Suzuki
(99 percent) with both firms doubling their performance as compared to the
In reality all growth figures in 2012 are heavily influenced by the exposure to
the 2011 earthquake/tsunami and flooding disasters - it will be really
interesting to see how these figures will look like 12 months from now, when the
flood impacts have disappeared and we can see the true performance of the OEMs
They make cars in Iran?
Saw an interesting table in the financial pages the other
day. Thailand ranks as number 15 in the vehicle manufacturing nations, but Iran
is number 13! Number one is China at 18.5 million vehicles in 2011, followed a
long way back by the US at 8.6 million. The UK, which used to be one of the
major car manufacturers, now languishes down at number 14 at 1.5 million, edging
out Thailand at 1.4 million. But Iran better than us!
It turns out there are 13 public and privately owned automakers in Iran, of
which two - Iran Khodro and Saipa - accounted for 94 percent of the total
domestic production. Iran Khodro, produced the Paykan, which was replaced in
2005 by the Samand, with 61 percent of the market while Saipa contributed 33
percent of Iran’s total production. Iran Khodro is one of the largest car
manufacturers in Asia. It has established joint-ventures with foreign partners
on four continents.
Iran manufacturers six different types of vehicle, including passenger cars,
4WD, trucks, buses, minibuses, and pickup trucks. The sector directly employs
about 500,000 people (roughly 2.3 percent of the workforce), and many more in
related industries. About 75 percent of local output is passenger cars, with
pick-ups the next largest category, accounting for around 15 percent. Almost the
opposite from Thailand.
In the Auto Industry? Think about Myanmar!
According to latest research from Frost & Sullivan, Myanmar’s
commercial vehicle segment is about to experience potential growth due to the
many infrastructure projects and booming mining industry after the easing of
sanctions imposed by Western markets against the country.
Total heavy commercial vehicle sales in Myanmar are expected to grow at a
compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent between 2011 and 2016 to reach
12,700 units in 2016. “The registrations of trucks, including
locally-manufactured as well as imported ones, may increase from 4,000 units
currently to 10,100 units by 2016,” says Frost & Sullivan Principal Consultant
Automotive & Transportation Practice Asia Pacific, Masaki Honda. “This growth is
due to infrastructure projects and the mining sector which use dump trucks and
other heavy-duty machineries.”
As for buses, approximately 700 buses were newly registered in 2011 and the
total number of buses will reach 2,600 units by 2016 thanks to the increase of
passenger movements within the country as well as between neighboring countries.
“Myanmar is an attractive destination for commercial vehicle manufacturers
looking to enter the country,” Honda added. “However, the main challenge for
foreign vehicle manufacturers is the affordability of their vehicles. Local
companies may not be able to purchase brand-new commercial vehicles especially
Japanese or European-made and will resort to second-hand vehicles.” Foreign
firms will therefore probably be cautious about making any large investment due
to the frequent regulatory changes.
Most of the trucks currently used in Myanmar are imported from Japan, such as
Nissan Diesel and Mitsubishi Fuso. “Second-hand vehicles of Japanese origin are
popular even though they are older models, for example from 2004, because of
their durability and reliability, while newer Korean and Chinese brands are
preferred because of lower price tags compared to Japanese brands,” Honda
As of 2011 Myanmar has about 2.3 million registered vehicles, which include
passenger cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. The motorcycle is the most
popular mode of transport though and accounts for 81 percent of total registered
vehicles. Meanwhile, passenger cars have a 12 percent market share, followed by
commercial vehicles at 3 percent and buses at 1 percent.
Vehicle importers play an important role in bringing in second-hand vehicles
into Myanmar due to a lack of locally manufactured vehicles in the country.
Before 2009, vehicle import had been restricted to limited companies such as a
company owned by the Myanmar military, running multiple businesses such as
manufacturing, trading and transportation. Since 2010, however, private
companies have been allowed to import vehicles, resulting in more brands and
types of commercial vehicles made available in the country.
“Korean and Chinese brands have been gaining market share since then and are
expected to increase further due to their lower pricing as compared to Japanese
second-hand vehicles,” Honda concluded.
If you would like to receive further information on the Automotive market in
Myanmar or Asia Pacific in general, please send an e-mail with your full contact
details to Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, at [email protected]
So there you are - a business opportunity worth investigation.
More on the “Ferrari” P4 from a couple of weeks ago
The phone number I gave with the article is apparently no
longer operative. The new business number is 083 824 9500 and the website is
www.replica-cars-thailand.com. Attila’s new number is 091 173 1954. The Ferrari
P4 Spyder is finished and about the middle of October the Ferrari P 4 will be
finished and the end of November a Lamborghini Countach is coming. This Ferrari
P4 will be for rent in Pattaya.