One of the first international auto shows since the pandemic proved to be a success.
You didn’t read the title wrong, the 2020 Bangkok International Motor Show just concluded last week.
Following several delays, the 41st Bangkok International Motor Show finally took place from the 13th to 26th of July. Organised by Grand Prix International PCL, over 1 million visitors were in attendance over the two week period.
In the age of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, the mainstay auto shows that get all the attention like Geneva, Detroit and Frankfurt were all cancelled or postponed. Leaving smaller auto shows like Bangkok and Chengdu, in countries that have managed to suppress their coronavirus pandemic to a manageable degree to be the only major automotive event in the foreseeable future.
Over 25 auto manufacturers and 22 motorcycle producers have taken part in this 12 day event, with nearly 18,316 bookings for new cars in this period. Toyota secured the most bookings with 3,745, mainly thanks to the reveal of their new Corolla Cross SUV during the auto show. Premium brands like BMW also had a good showing with 888 bookings within the two week span.
Although Thailand has gone nearly 7 weeks without a local transmission of the virus that only affected around 3,000 people in the Land of Smiles, health and safety precautions were still mandated throughout the show.
The country’s first large scale event since the pandemic saw nearly all attendees wearing masks and face shields. Thermal scans were placed at the entrance to the event hall and attendees were required to check-in using their mobile phones to help with contact tracing.
Meanwhile at the booths, there were specified waiting spots to ensure physical distancing. In addition to specific entry and exit points to prevent over-crowding.
According to head organiser of the event Prachin Eamlumnow, “This is more than the motor show, but also Thailand’s reputation because the other event organizers will be watching.”
It will be certainly interesting to watch the developments in the next few weeks on whether new clusters of COVID-19 positive patients arise from this event. As this result may greatly inform other event organisers around the world on the possibility of hosting these large events again.
The success around the Bangkok motor show, which even during times of a global pandemic, can draw in a million visitors is to be commended. Sources claim that the attendance figure this year is on par with the previous years’ figures, which is an anomaly within the auto show industry.
Auto shows have been in decline for several years already, with attendances to the major auto shows showing steadily going down year after year. This pandemic has been the final nail in the coffin for many automakers to realise that spending millions in marketing on a booth in an auto show may not be the best return on investment, considering that most of the attention now can be generated more cheaply through other (mostly online) means.
The Malaysia Auto Show 2020 has already been postponed to April 2021 citing coronavirus concerns. However judging from the attendance record from the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS), coronavirus or not the attendance numbers are not expected to be huge.
However, going to an auto show has always been an experience for car enthusiasts as it gives us the opportunity to be up close with the latest and greatest that the auto industry has to offer. So it will be a sad day when the last motor show closes its doors forever.