Thailand slow to adapt to electric cars
Despite being called the “Detroit of Asia,” Thailand has been slow to deploy electric vehicles onto its roads. As of September 30, the Southeast Asian country only had 52 electric sedans being driven around, which is a minuscule share of the 1.3 million electric cars on the roads worldwide.
Thai motorists have some fears about driving electric cars, like the power getting drained in traffic, and flood damaging the batteries. However, the Thai government is taking steps to entice motorists to start driving electric vehicles, with a plan to boost the number of electric vehicles to 1.2 million in the next two decades. Among the steps being considered is focusing on industrial adoption and the roll-out of the first charging stations by the end of this year.
The number of electric vehicles has doubled worldwide since 2014 even if there were only hundreds of them in 2005. The Tesla Model 3 can help change the perceptions of Thai drivers toward electric vehicles as it can travel 344km on a single charge and sprint from 0 to 100km/h in less than six seconds. It was launched in the United States as a high-volume car at an affordable price, starting from about 1.3 million baht.
Mercedes-Benz Thailand also released a nine-minute short film named Loopbreaker, featuring Thai-British actress Araya A. Hargate and depicting a woman driving the GLE 500e plug-in hybrid electric car.
Large car companies in Thailand like Toyota, Isuzu and Honda—each with a major share of the domestic market—have not yet promoted their electric models.
US auto sales still strong despite 4.4% October slide
There is still no general slowdown in the sales of new cars and trucks in the US in October, even if there was a 4.4% decrease in overall sales in the month. However, the sales dip can be attributed to dealerships having two days less to sell in October this year than the same month last year.
Dealerships were open 26 days compared to 28 days in October 2015, so if dealers were open an equal number of days, many automakers would have seen a sales increase.
The official October sales results could be revised in a few days as Ford delayed releasing sales figures because of an electrical fire at its Dearborn headquarters.
SUVs and crossovers continued to sell better than passenger cars, and a boom in pickup sales started to cool off, becoming dependent on incentives given by dealerships.
Sales of pickups are crucial to the “Big Three” of Detroit. However, Chevrolet Silverado sales slipped by 3.6%, while GMC Sierra deliveries were down 19% in October. Fiat Chrysler reported a 12% increase in sales of its Ram pickups, but some the vehicle’s packages were advertised at discounts by as much as 20% during the month.
GM registered an 85% sales jump for its Chevrolet Suburban and 81% for its Tahoe, offsetting its sales dip in pickups.
Volkswagen proclaims new SUV as its ‘new star in US’
The leader of the Volkswagen production team at the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee said the new Atlas SUV that will be assembled there is “a total success.”
“We can’t wait to see the Atlas on American highways,” VW production team leader Rita Edwards told a large roomful of fellow employees as the SUV was revealed in Chattanooga for the first time.
“This marks an important milestone for the factory,” said Christian Koch, who heads the plant where the 2018 Atlas seven-seat SUV will be produced alongside the Passat sedan. Assembly of the Atlas is scheduled late this year with sales expected to start in spring 2017.
Sebastian Patta, the plant’s executive vice president for human resources, called the Atlas “our new star in the US.” He added that it’s “made in the US, (and) even much better, made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”
The Atlas has a 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI four-cylinder engine with 238hp.
Carmakers in US told to take responsibility for defective airbags
As you know, countless airbags manufactured by Japanese supplier Takata have been recalled globally because of a defect that could cause them to explode in the event of a crash, which could then injure a vehicle’s passengers with flying metal shrapnels. The recalls have been so massive that Takata has been looking for a buyer to take over its company—or it may even file for bankruptcy.
In that eventuality, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that the responsibility of recalling and fixing defective airbags falls upon the carmakers themselves. That means paying for the expenses incurred by these repairs and replacements.
Good luck to Honda recalling and fixing more than 300,000 old vehicles.