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Honda adds Brio to eco-car market

Posted by arnon_k On December - 1 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Honda has confirmed plans to sell an eco-car in Thailand early next year but plans for a hybrid remain unclear even though Japanese rival Toyota has two petrol-electric models available.

Honda yesterday introduced its Brio eco-car prototype, which will be featured at the Thailand International Motor Expo that runs from today to Dec 12 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

The prototype is close to the mass-production model, which will go on sale in March at a starting price of around 400,000 baht, said Honda Motor chief executive Takanobu Ito.

That price would make the Brio 25,000 baht dearer than the Nissan March, the first eco-car launched locally in March this year.

The Brio five-door hatchback has a 1.2-litre gasoline engine, and a four-door sedan might be considered later.

Honda also aims to introduce the Brio in India next year with a starting price below 500,000 rupees. Brios made in Thailand and India might be exported to other markets in the region except Japan and China.

Mr Ito said the Brio, which is smaller than the City and Jazz, reflected worldwide demand for smaller cars as well as consumers’ concerns about fuel economy and impact on the environment.

He said the car had been developed based on Honda’s concept of local production including the use of locally produced tooling in addition to locally procured parts and materials.

To accomplish this, Honda has adopted specifications optimised for the Asian market and accelerated the use of local suppliers in Asia, said Mr Ito.

Fumihiko Ike, president of Asian Honda Motor, said Honda was in no hurry to market a hybrid in Thailand as it wanted to observe consumer reaction to the Toyota Camry and Prius models.

Both have been well received so far, with the receiving more than 1,000 presale orders even before the retail price was formally announced.

Honda has hybrid models in its lineup to respond to the needs of consumers and believes the hybrid market will grow in the future, said Mr Ike.

Honda is waiting for more details on Thai government support for hybrids.

Currently, hybrid cars enjoys a 10% excise tax, significantly lower than the normal rate of 30% and upward, and hybrid parts not available in Thailand can be imported duty-free.

Border to reopen near temple

Posted by arnon_k On December - 1 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

2nd Army chief rejects idea of any troop cuts
Thailand and Cambodia are looking set to reopen their border crossings near the disputed Preah Vihear temple this week after a lengthy closure, an army source says.

The governor of Si Sa Ket and the Cambodian governor of Preah Vihear province have discussed the matter and are expected to reopen the crossings near the ancient Hindu temple and a nearby disputed, 4.6 square kilometre area on Friday, the source said yesterday.

This would be the first time both the Thai and Cambodian crossings have been open simultaneously since July 2008, when the Preah Vihear temple was granted Unesco world heritage status under Cambodian stewardship.

Second Army Region commander Thawatchai Samutsakhon yesterday insisted no troop withdrawals from the disputed area had or would take place.

The outcome of the last meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) in Pattaya in October was only that both sides would adjust the positioning of their troops in the disputed area to lessen tensions, Lt Gen Thawatchai said.

“Cambodia wants us to reduce troops but we cannot just do so alone [without reciprocal action from Cambodia]. Besides, we’re not confident in the situation,” he said.

The number of Thai troops in the area, which he refused to disclose, would not be changed but they would be moved to another location nearby.

“We’re not going to retreat, especially from Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara [the temple at the foot of the mountain where the disputed Preah Vihear temple is located] where Thai and Cambodian troops are positioned together.”

“Cambodia should also clear [their troops and weapons] from the Preah Vihear temple.”

The 2nd Army commander said he had been told by the Cambodian military during recent talks that Cambodia planned to soon reopen the road leading up to the Preah Vihear temple to tourists.

Thailand reopened the steep Mo E-daeng cliff near the Preah Vihear temple, which is the route leading to the temple on the Thai side of the border, a few weeks ago.

Both sides were trying to ease border tensions in order to boost tourism, Lt Gen Thawatchai said.

Another army source said Thailand and Cambodia maintained about 3,000 troops each in the disputed area.

In a related development, a new visa agreement between Thailand and Cambodia will take effect on Dec 16.

Thai and Cambodian citizens will be able to travel between the two countries without a visa and stay up to 14 days from the date of entry.

Joint Cabinet meeting to discuss rice cartel

Posted by arnon_k On November - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Phnom Penh — Thailand and Vietnam will have a joint Cabinet meeting in February, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Wednesday.

The venue of the meeting has yet to be finalised.

Abhisit met his Vietnam PM Nguyen Tan Dung on the sidelines of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) summit in Phnom Penh.

GUANGZHOU, Nov 12 — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday that he and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao agreed to speed up negotiations to construct a high speed train system in Thailand.

Mr Abhisit met Mr Wen before attending the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games at Guangzhou which was staged in the middle of the Pearl River on Haixinsha Square.

This meeting was also the follow up after Mr Abhisit visited Beijing in June last year.

The Thai premier said during the discussion, both sides have agreed that during the past two years, the bilateral ties, trade and investment have run smoothly. Investment between two countries has incrased 50 per cent and Thai export value could possibly hit US$50,000 this year.

Both countries also agreed to draft five-year strategic economic development plan, he said.

Mr Abhisit said he has told Mr Wen that Thailand joint parliamentary meeting on Oct 26 has approved a proposed draft framework of Thailand-China negotiations to construct a high speed train system in Thailand.

The Chinese premier said the discussion should begin with the details of the routes and format of joint investment, he said.

The Thai prime minister also invited Mr Wen to visit Thailand to foster close relations between the two countries.

In this occasion, Mr Abhisit has witnessed the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) for promoting and distributing of Thai TV soap operas in China.

After attending opening ceremony of Asian Games, Mr Abhisit will leave for Japan to attend the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ meeting will be held at Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture during Nov 13-14.

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