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Phuket Business: Pickup sales champ

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PHUKET: Reinforced with continuous, cutting-edge improvements to its steering and suspension systems, the Toyota Hilux Vigo Champ looks to retain its stronghold on the domestic pickup market.

The PhuketGazette had the opportunity to join an exclusive tour of Toyota Motor Thailand’s (TMT) Ban Pho production plant recently, gaining a first-hand look at the prized truck’s production and assembly line.

Comprising of some 40 members, the Phuket group included representatives from the island’s public and private sectors, government offices and academic institutions.

During the trip, the Gazette engaged in discussions with representatives from TMT as well as with Phuket’s exclusive Toyota dealer.

Anusorn Kosasaeng, Sales Manager of Toyota Phuket Pearl Co Ltd, told us that he is confident that the brand will continue to hold its top market position.

He remarked: “The Hilux Vigo Champ has been recognized by JD Power [and associates] for being the top selling pickup truck in Thailand for six continuous years, and I don’t anticipate this changing any time soon.

“As we can see, TMT continues to put a lot into research and development in response to the needs of the market.

“Namely, the latest models, launched in Thailand last month, have implemented ‘Diamond Tech Suspension’ or DTS systems.

“The performance improvements have particularly focused on handling, steering and road traction, especially for rough terrain, hills and sharp curves,” he noted.

As for Toyota’s championing of the pickup truck market, Anusorn was adamant that it has been no easy feat.

“Such an accomplishment has no doubt been challenging, and has required a continuous effort to improve the performance of the vehicle on many levels,” he said.

Asked about the competition, which has increased much in recent years, Anusorn responded: “It would be very difficult for competitors to gain an edge on us.

“With its sustained commitment to quality, continued development of technology and top-of-the-line production standards, it’s not really surprising that Toyota has been the market leader in this segment for so many years.

“This is highlighted by the JD Power accolade.”

As for the objective of the tour, Anusorn explained: “We want participants to come and see with their own eyes the levels of quality and standards applied in the Toyota Hilux Vigo Champ’s production.

“We also want to give the participants a chance to test for themselves how reliable, effective and safe the new DTS system is.

Before touring the production plant, members of the tour group were given the chance to test drive the newest Champ on a controlled test track that featured a number of terrain simulation obstacles.

Following the tests, Yuthana Bunsablersdee, an automotive technician and pickup enthusiast joining the tour, told the Gazette that he was impressed with the performance of the new Champ.

“I noticed a clear difference in the different models. The suspension and breaking system [of the Champ] has improved a lot since earlier models. It definitely handles a lot smoother on steep hills and sharp turns.

“The good thing about Toyota is it is always improving its offerings to address the needs of the market,” he added.

Stay tuned for an in-depth business feature about the tour of the Ban Pho plant, which will be published online and in print next week.

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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